Refugees get solar digital classrooms to facilitate learning

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Refugees get solar digital classrooms to facilitate learning

In a bid to enhance refugee literacy in a COVID-19-safe way in Uganda and India while harnessing the unlimited power that solar energy provides, Salesforce, a software company, has partnered with Simbi Foundation in its Read-A-Thon.

The Read-A-Thon by Simbi Foundation aims at encouraging individuals of all ages to pick up interest in reading and prompting community learning across the globe. The Foundation’s global library comprises storybooks narrated by learners which can be easily accessed by 180,000+ students from over 80 countries, including remote and refugee learners.

Similarly, Salesforce also donated two BrightBox Micros, which are solar digital classrooms designed to enhance learning capacity, in the crowded refugee schools in the United Nations Bidibidi Camp stationed in northwestern Uganda.

The Bidibidi Camp is home to 239,000+ people, making it the second-largest settlement of its kind in the world. Out of the refugees in the camp, 143,000 of them are school-aged children.

However, the teacher-to-student ratio is poor because there are only 850 teachers available to teach over 70,000 students that are enrolled in schools across the settlement. Available textbooks for learning too are limited.

BrightBox Micros are powered by solar energy and are the damage-proof movable versions of the full Salesforce BrightBox classrooms, with a capacity to simultaneously support about 1,500 learners via an offline intranet.

During the Read-A-Thon, BrightBox offers refugees of the Bidibidi Camp access to books and other important digital educational resources like the Simbi Learn Cloud curriculum as well as resources to train teachers.

Simbi Foundation’s reading technology was developed on the “bi-modal” reading principle which enables learners to read and listen to books simultaneously. This approach has proven to increase literacy scores by up to 100% compared to traditional learning methods.

Speaking on the impact of the project, Jesse Friedland, Salesforce Regional Manager, said, “636 books narrated and thousands of learners impacted around the world—proud of the Salesforce team! If you’re looking for a meaningful, COVID-19-friendly way to give back, consider a Read-A-Thon with Simbi Foundation.”

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