Local schools supply a Tanzanian village with new technologies

NORTHFIELD, Vermont (WCAX) – A small town in Vermont is struggling to supply schools halfway around the world with new technology. Organizers say the experience was life-changing. Not only for them, but for students near and far.

“It really helps them jump straight into the 21st century,” said Mike Macijeski.

Mike Macijeski is a retired history teacher from Northfield Middle High School. After a trip with several students in 2015 to Pommern, a small village in Tanzania, a project between several schools in central Vermont was born.

The aim is to supply used laptops, iPads and other computers overseas.

“Most schools in the United States follow a cycle of about 4 years for computers, because everything is always newer. I had befriended the manager,” Macijeski said. “I said hey shad, my school has 30 or 40 computers, would you like them if I can get them to you.”

That’s what happened. Not once, but now twice.

Last week, Macijeski and other partners, like Nicole DiDomenico, director of Norwich University’s Center for Civic Engagement, were able to collect hundreds of pieces of equipment, load them onto pallets and ship them.

“Some of these students have never interacted with a computer before – and those who have, have faced some pretty [spotty] equipment,” DiDomenico said. “So the more we can get there, honestly the better it is for them. The more likely they are to actually have access to the intended learning.

For DiDomenico, the partnership began more than ten years ago. Over the years, she and several groups of students have been able to help build the village from the ground up. Provide access to features such as a living space, barn, and sunflower oil and bottling plant.

She says what started as a simple volunteer project has turned into lifelong relationships.

“Students here who know this, who have seen this first hand, come back with a deeper appreciation for their own opportunities and the things they have here. The lessons learned go far beyond just giving and receiving the gift. These are lessons learned for everyone.

Organizers say the equipment is expected to arrive in Tanzania by the end of October.

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