The 113-square-metre lab will house 30 Raspberry Pi desktop kits with monitors. These computers will be linked to educational websites and will provide (restricted) internet access to children who are eager to learn, particularly those currently residing in temporary camps and missing out on schooling.
The objective of this initiative is to teach students basic computer literacy while providing access to online tools (notably Khan Academy) that support and supplement the educational curriculum; these are available in Portuguese (and other languages) via a web browser.
The computer lab is being built at the Montepuez Secondary School in Montepuez city, Mozambique. MRM – the local ruby mine, which is majority owned by Gemfields – is also funding classrooms that will sit alongside the computer building, expanding the learning facilities available to internally displaced children. The facility will benefit from having teachers on hand to aid learning by providing their expertise in ensuring the smooth running of the computers and supporting the school’s existing security arrangements.
It took several weeks to find just the right location for the computer lab, one that would not be too remote and impractical, and which would provide the right learning environment for the children we wanted to help. Ongoing IT support for the facility will be supplied by Gemfields Limited’s IT department.
There are no other public computer classrooms in Montepuez, so the facility has potential to provide benefit to a wide number of users.
As of 30 March 2022, the foundations of the building have been completed; the walls are going up; computer equipment has been ordered; and the team are now purchasing furniture. By the end of the week, the roof structure will be mounted, and the plan for next week is to start with false-ceiling and tiling. We aim to finish the facility in June.
Funding for the computer lab was generously provided by private donors in Houston, USA. Funds were raised at an event held by the Correa Family Foundation and Fabergé and were then matched by Gemfields Limited. We give our sincere thanks to every donor and to the Correa Family Foundation for their support. We look forward to sharing further building progress in this journal as the computer lab takes shape!