In July of this year, Symantec Corporation, based in the heart of Silicon Valley in Mountain View, California, donated 20 Dell servers to support ISSP‘s international school-to-school partnerships program, linking schools around the globe via the Internet to schools here in the U.S., to enhance cross-cultural experiences for students while sharing common academic curriculum.
The servers donated were excess inventory at Symantec, and were loaded with a vast amount of educational content, a package called RACHEL, created and provided at no cost by World Possible, a nonprofit based in San Francisco. Special thanks to World Possible Board member John Walker, for helping to make possible this donation to ISSP partner schools.
These servers will provide students in the developing world with wonderful access to a wealth of information via a local area network (requiring no Internet access) and the option to link through the Internet with schools in the US for teacher-to-teacher and student-to-student interactive sessions.
ISSP also wishes to thank both George Schnurle and Eileen Brewer —employees at Symantec— for assisting with this donation, which now includes the Khan Academy digital curriculum for Math and Science, Wikipedia for Schools, the Medical Encyclopedia, World Literate E-books and CK-12 Text Books in PDF and much more.
Some Background on how this came to be:
TechWomen 2013 participant Bih Janet Shufor Fofang, an electric engineer, teacher and co-founder of the Tassah Academy in Yaounde, Cameroon, spent October 2013 at
Symantec while in the TechWomen Program (www.techwomen.org). Her mentor was Symantec engineer Geeta Gharpure. At that same time —October 2013— Jonathan Berkey, President of ISSP, sent an email to a TechWoman mentor he knew, asking if any of the program participants might be interested in ISSP’s school-to-school program. Bih Janet replied immediately with her interest in the ISSP Africa Link program — and during her month at Symantec, she met with Jonathan and other ISSP Board members and advisors. Bih Janet now serves on the ISSP Advisory Board.
While at Symantec, Bih Janet also met George Schnurle, a hardware engineer, through her mentor Geeta. Janet also met Eileen Brewer at Symantec, another TechWomen mentor.
While working out the details of getting the donation of servers from Symantec, Jonathan also contacted John Walker of World Possible. This team: Eileen, George, Jonathan and John, preloaded the servers with the RACHEL bundle making them much more valuable to their recipients in Africa and other regions of the developing world.
Because Symantec supports the TechWomen Program, these relationships were formed and inspired the donation of 20 servers to ISSP, who will now ship three of these units to Cameroon, including Janet’s Tassah Academy!
Eileen Brewer, Senior Manager at Symantec states, “Watching the ripple effect of these types of connections and seeing the end result of our efforts is very inspiring! This is what fuels me to continue to find ways to support wonderful education efforts such as this link between Tassah Academy in Cameroon and ISSP in California!”