By Sara Pieraccioni
Openmind Projects Foundation (OMP) is an NGO founded in 2001 in Thailand, with the aim to improve learning opportunities for underprivileged people in Southeast Asia. OMP supports over 60 projects in Cambodia, Laos, Nepal and Thailand with a network of local people and a global channel of supporters, in order to help village girls and boys to access better education. Openmind Projects has been working for years in order to help disadvantaged children in rural areas to better education opportunities pioneering IT learning in Thailand, implemented in practical solutions in three pillars: Training Center, Learning Camps and village field projects.
In 2020, Covid-19 stopped their work on the ground, making digitalization a necessity. Openmind Project has decided to use online programs and it’s accelerating its adoption of e-learning for young people in Southeast Asia through a collaboration with Cisco Systems in a project to develop, test and implement digital solutions for poor students with difficult access to education. A team of local OMP trainees and Cisco volunteers will work together to find ways to adapt digital education that can be used by local students, teachers and volunteers.
At the beginning of May 2020, the first remote lessons were held with the participation of over twenty children from different villages using edtech (education technology) learning methods and with the support of virtual volunteers from Australia, South Korea, Taiwan and India. Volunteers from several nations get together online with OMP to work with young students to find out about the effects of Covid-19, on society and nature while they improve their English by searching and sharing what they learned about the effects.
Openmind Projects wants to help Thai learners from anywhere connect and learn with volunteers, to share what they learn on social media, and suggest, present their own solutions to important global or local problems, like global warming, or how Thai students can improve their ranking in international English tests. Competition always brings out a lot of energy and motivation is the first key to learning so they will be able to compete for best English and solutions in teams. This is what Openmind Projects want to bring to schools online now with the help of Cisco’s WebEx, virtual classroom opportunities and with international volunteers.
This spring (2022) Openmind Projects and Cisco will be organizing an April ‘hybrid’ camp for village students. OMP agreed plans with schools and education authorities. Alumni and previous Openmind Projects trainees/campers, that have familiar with their learning by doing approach, will act as local camp leaders, thanks to the support about Cisco volunteers from several countries would join online.
Cover image: promotion photography by Openmind Projects