The tenth anniversary journey will go to the KwaZulu-Natal region in South Africa. Our goal is to focus more on education and service of the already existing computers, but still approximately 100 computers will be sent.
Daniel Ahlqvist – vice-chairman
Matilda Horppu – treasurer
Hampus Dahlin – member of the board
The main ambition our year was to install 100 to 200 computers that were shipped to South Africa, but they got stuck in customs and was not released until after we left. Instead the focus shifted to supporting the existing computers, developing the education material and educate learners and teachers at schools. This was done successfully and the response was very positive. The computers were later distributed by Star for Life along with computer manuals that we had created.
We really loved the time we spent in South Africa and around Hluhluwe, despite all our troubles with getting the computers and not knowing what to do a lot of the time. We learnt a bunch about adapting to new situations and the people that we met were wonderful. We all wish to come back some day.
Simon Nielsen – vice-chairman
Elin Ljunggren – treasurer
Björn Hedström – member of the board
2015 was the first year that CESA brought computers to Namibia instead of South Africa, so we got to create new connections with the Star for Life office in Windhoek, Namibia. It was also the first year that we only brought laptops and no desktop computers, around 200 of them.
Our adventure began with a delay due to government requirements, during which we had to install Windows OS instead of Edubuntu on all computers. We then set out to nine different schools to deliver the computers and provide some education on how they could be used. Five schools in the capital, two in nearby cities and two in a very rural area 900 km away (super cool!). On the weekends we had the privilege to go on safari and to try sandboarding. The scenery was amazing.
Patricia Paulsson – vice-chairman
Oskar Nyberg – treasurer
Joel Torstensson – member of the board
In 2014, it was time for CESA to revisit Hluhluwe, South Africa. Since Star for Life has been active in this location for many years, they had already established contact with schools for us to visit. Our main focus was to deliver and install donated computers for these schools.
While waiting for the computers to arrive, we revisited schools that CESA had been to in the past. We performed maintenance on existing computers and equipment, repairing and replacing broken parts in order to get them up to speed again. We also took the opportunity to evaluate how computers were used in education and trained school staff on basic maintenance.
The peak of our visit was when the 300 computers, with accompanying screens and equipment, finally arrived and we could set out to distribute them. We cranked up the tempo, visiting two to three schools daily in order to cover as many schools as possible.
The greatest lesson learned was probably that no matter how much you plan, unforeseen events will always turn up. Therefore it is important to always stay open-minded and think on your feet to solve problems in creative ways.
Robert Edström – vice-chairman
Marcus Olsson – treasurer
Anton Palmqvist – member of the board
With destination Hluhluwe, South Africa, the 2012 CESA crew arrived with great anticipation for the coming weeks and with a fresh batch of home-seeking computers (~300 units). Our focus during our stay was on the installation of the computers in rural schools as well as maintenance of those previously delivered. A keyword for this year’s expedition was “Ubuntu” – a Nguni Bantu term roughly translating to “humanity” – and the name of the free and open source operating system that were introduced in the project this year.
Despite challenges with everything from computer viruses to wildfires, we were able to set up computer labs in many schools and learned a tremendous deal about both ourselves and the intriguing South African history and culture – not to mention its amazing people!
In the beginning of 2008, the CESA project was initiated with the idea to contribute to computer knowledge in rural areas of South Africa. The focus during the first year was to ship and install high-quality computers and educate teachers.
As the first project team, we spent a couple of intense months planning and preparing how this could be accomplished in practical. In August, we travelled to Hluhluwe, KwaZulu-Natal both nervous and excited at the same time. More than 200 high-quality desktop computers prepared with office software (and even an offline version of Wikipedia) had been shipped from Sweden to South Africa before we travelled.
With great support from our local contacts in South Africa, we visited more than ten pre-selected schools, both nearby and far away from Hluhluwe, and assembled computer labs from early morning to afternoon. The evenings were spent preparing for the next day and learning about South African culture!
The schools we visited were all different in terms of location, size and computer readiness. The majority of the schools did not have any existing computer labs. But one thing they all had in common was the excitement from the pupils and the teachers. In many cases the pupils wanted to start using the computers even before we were finished with the installation. For some of them, it was the first time they ever used a computer.
The highlight was definitely the people; the supporting people from Star for Life and all the amazing pupils and teachers, always curious with a smile on their face!
Caroline Odéhn fd. Gunnarsson