The SEE Project has undergone a major transformation. It will now be supported by the SEE Project Inc.. This incorporated body was registered was on 7 November 2014. Its primary purpose is to support the activities and initiatives of the SEE Project.
The interim office bearers for the organization are: Vinesh Chandra (President), Graeme Baguley (Secretary) and Andy Ng (Treasurer). The committee members are: Ramila Chandra, Epeneri Raudreudre Ganilau Korovakaturaga, Zarina Shahban, Heena Akbar, and Jun Seok Song. An annual general meeting will be called in the New Year to elect the office bearers and launch the organization.
In the past three years we have achieved significant milestones helping schools in Fiji, South Sudan, Bhutan and the Solomon Islands. Our assistance has been through the setting up of computer labs, libraries, face to face and online professional development of teachers, and financial support for the education of girls in high schools. The total cost of the resources to-date exceeds AUD225, 000. This does not include, the hundreds of hours that has been put by volunteers who believed in the aims and objectives of the project. We feel that with no financial support or grants, the SEE Project has come a long way. Amongst our donors, the support provided by the Queensland University of Technology(QUT) has been very significant. Their donation of second hand computers has made a difference in advancing our agenda and we are looking forward to their continued support in future.
While our efforts have not have changed the world, we are certainly doing our best to create opportunities for those who may not be as fortunate as we are. It is pleasing to see that some have embraced the opportunities that they have been presented. We would like to share a story with you to highlight the value of our initiatives. It highlights the significance and value of our work. Earlier this year a group of students from QUT engaged in a service learning project in Bhutan to promote the benefits of inclusive education. The input of the SEE Project was minimal – we provided the students with laptops that could be used as part of their project and then donated to the school in Bhutan. Upon their return, one of the students Stewart Duff sent me an email. (We are reproducing Stewart’s email with his permission with minor edits).
I thought I would share with you one of our experiences from the Bhutan Service Learning. This is taken from my reflection notes.( Names have been changed for privacy reasons).
One of the most emotional and touching moments that I encountered happened on my second day between classes. My supervisor and another QUT student had been working with a young girl named Pema who was labelled as having Cerebral Palsy. Her fate seemed to be sealed when we arrived as we were told that she had never engaged in any form of communication that required written, oral or gestural expression. We were told that Pema enjoyed playing with toys and sitting by herself – she had engaged in these simple activities since she started her schooling.
After observing Pema on the first day, my supervisor decided to test Pema on the second day. My supervisor placed a laptop computer in front of Pema and proceeded to read out some simple words. To everyone’s astonishment, the girl started to type on the keyboard the words that were read out to her, with extremely high accuracy and fluency. In the space of 5 minutes she had written over twenty words. The support teacher and other teachers in that room were absolutely stunned and overcome with emotion. They had just experienced something life-changing.
Throughout the day Pema continued to write and solve mathematical problems using the laptop. My supervisors suspicions were found to be true. Pema did not have Cerebral Palsy, she had Autism, and although unable to express herself through traditional means of communication, she was able to show her knowledge and express herself through an alternative medium. Pema had spent her entire childhood self-teaching herself in isolation. I can only imagine the raw emotion and joy her mother would have felt upon seeing her daughters work and contemplating the endless possibilities that awaited her. A life in emotional and communicative isolation was over – a new chapter had begun.
Thank you once again Vinesh. The laptops you donated will have far reaching benefits. Sometimes the impact of one’s actions can be felt on the other side of the world.
The change that a laptop was able to bring in just one persons life justifies the many hours that we have put into this project so far. How many other people can such initiatives benefit? Thanks Stewart for sharing your story. Read more about Stewart and his experience – click here.
We hope that you will be able to support us in our initiatives as the SEE Project enters a new chapter in “its life”. Through our collective efforts we can create new and unseen opportunities for more children like Pema!
Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.