With the generosity of Anand, who donated computers to the school, we were able to rent a third room in our current ashram complex and establish a computer laboratory. With Yogi ji's great help, it officially opened this week!
On Tuesday evening, I gathered the senior students (ages 10 - 16) for their first class. "How many of you have a computer?" I asked, to which no hands went up. Next question - "How many of you have never used a computer?" Only three hands went up. Most of the children have been exposed to computers, a contrast to the junior group, for whom many touched a keyboard for the first time the next day.
As luck would have it, an elementary school teacher from Canada, Andrea Limon, is currently in Rishikesh and expressed an interest in volunteering with the school. She started computer courses on Wednesday with both the younger and older children, drawing up a 'computer agreement use' with the older group. Both groups quickly picked up the paint program, a useful tool for the younger children to start practicing and mastering use of the mouse.
We have ambitious plans to teach the children word and excel this fall, and eventually to integrate the computer lab resources into their English and math lessons. Once internet is set up next week, this will be another educational tool to enrich their studies. We can't wait to connect via skype with students in schools around the world!