Improving Women & Girls Education Through Technology
Intel Computer Clubhouse Network for Girls
Simply having access to technology changes outlooks and transforms lives. The Intel Computer Clubhouse Network, an after-school community-based technology learning program, inspired a 12-year-old girl named Nancy in inner-city Boston to eventually study human computer interactions at the University of Michigan. "The clubhouse was an escape from the turmoil of all my foster homes," she says. "I never guessed those fun things would turn into skills that would help me become a creative thinker."
Intel® Learn: Farha’s Dream
Farha’s parents took her out of school when she turned 15, fearing her reputation would be ruined if she was allowed to continue her education with boys. Her situation was like that of many young girls in the Chandni Chowk area of Delhi, India, who are forced to drop out of school and stay home as a result of gender traditions, or economic pressures.
Farha learned of an after-school Intel® Learn Program at her local community center, and without telling her parents, took her sister to learn more about it. Armed with information they received about the benefits of the program, the girls then convinced their parents to visit the center. A facilitator there worked with the parents to gain their approval to allow their daughters to join the program.
Several weeks of training followed, and as the girls gained skills, their life visions grew. Eventually, they were among several children who showcased their learning through multimedia presentations they had created for an audience of government leaders, community members, siblings, and parents. “It was during the showcase that we came to know the real purpose of the program,” said one of Farha’s parents after watching the girls confidently present their projects.
As a result of Intel Learn, parents in the community have come to understand, and appreciate the importance of higher education—for girls as well as boys. And Farha, along with her sister and other girls in Chandni Chowk, was allowed to return to the classroom to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor.
Intel® Teach: Program Helps Stop Child Marriage
The smoky-blue mountains of Nilgiri crown South India, and are home to the Toda community. This ancient tribe keeps mostly to itself, and doesn’t seek outside influences. Primarily pastoral, buffalo herding is the principle livelihood among the Toda. A high illiteracy rate is a serious problem for the community's overall development, and until quite recently, child marriage was common.
But then, a certain teacher was drawn to the plight of the Toda people, and in particular, Toda girls– the segment of the population suffering the most in a culture so desperate for education. The teacher used the training she got from Intel Teach to truly reach the girls of the Toda community–and help them envision a better life. Using the skills she learned, this brave educator involved her students in research projects designed to address the specific community problems of illiteracy, and child marriage. Initially, the Toda girls shied away, and didn’t want to participate. But gradually, they opened up, and spoke frankly about their miseries. Eventually, the boys of the Toda community also stepped in, taking part in the efforts to improve the plight of their people.
At first, a section of the community was opposed to girls' education beyond a certain age, as it interfered with the custom of child marriage. So, the students reached out, boosting awareness around this awful injustice. The students went to great lengths to share the information they collected through their research. They didn’t lose hope when a few villagers destroyed their posters. Instead, aided by their dedicated teacher, they rallied relentlessly, and were eventually able to convince their community that it was time for the old ways to change.
According to the head of the Toda community: "The pupils' force of creating awareness would pave way for better tomorrow." He then donated a piece of land to be used as a school playground.