Returning to Haiti to Provide Sustainable Technology Training
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be posting pieces from our Founding Mission List Members. Every day, these women are using their influence to shape their communities and create positive change at home and abroad. The below post is from Leticia Barr. “Why are you going to Haiti? Aren’t you worried about your safety, the lack of infrastructure, and getting malaria and typhoid from going? How does this fit with your blog?”
My only objective for going to Haiti was to see the country for my own eyes, past the news reports and photos presented in the media since the 2010 earthquake but little did I know that my trip would light a fire in me to return. Naming ourselves #Bloggers4Haiti, I traveled with a small group of influential women in the social media sphere to learn about artists and their crafts this past January. I met kind women full of refreshing entrepreneurial spirit who wanted to learn from us in order to make better lives for their children.
From teaching DamDam in the Haitian countryside about computers and the internet for the first time to a formal training session about social media tools with Port-au-Prince business women on our last day of our trip, I was able to witness how the pending technological boom in Haiti necessitates the need to provide education about the devices and tools that can serve as a conduit to share their businesses and stories with a global audience.
Drawing on my background of designing and delivering professional development for teachers, managing federal education grants, and teaching, I’m collaborating with members of #Bloggers4Haiti and fellow technology bloggers to create educational curriculum to teach Haitians about technology. I envision a sustainable model that will empower the Haitian women to ultimately share their knowledge of technology with each other.
When individuals or organizations come to Haiti with good intentions of providing money or assistance, the model is not sustainable. Haitians are continually frustrated by visitors who come to offer assistance, but never return to follow through. The model I envision builds capacity by empowering attendees to return to their communities to share their knowledge with others. It is a sustainable model that ultimately creates independence, while also spreading the information widely.
Technology can serve as a helpful tool to achieve a better life, but there’s also a need to provide early, proactive, and sustainable education about computer usage and social media tools. It’s also important that such efforts include imparting knowledge of security issues surrounding internet usage and cellular data. It would be irresponsible to not provide a well-rounded education about technology to those who need it and provide them with the tools to share their knowledge with others.
I have no doubt that my return trip will raise more questions but I also hope that it will inspire others to look beyond themselves at the skills that they have and can teach others who have a desire to learn in order to create better lives for themselves.
Leticia founded Tech Savvy Mama to assist parents in navigating the ever-changing world of technology but has loved the doors that have opened as a result of relationships formed in the blogging and social media world. A lifelong teacher, she’s passionate about raising awareness of important causes and using her influence to create social good whether advocating for American Cancer Society or returning to Haiti to teach women technology skills to improve their lives. Leticia feels her distinctions of Parents Magazine’s Editors’ Pick for Best Tech Blog, Babble’s Top 100 Mom Blogs, and named as one of the 50 Top Twitter Moms by Babble help advance her personal mission to spread social good! She can almost always be found online unless she’s unplugged to spend time with her husband, 2 children, and their overly enthusiastic Yellow Labrador.
Image credit TechSavvyMama.com.