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Skip Navigation Links : Computer Teams
 

Computers for Schools
Campaigns and Teams

By Rod Boyd

Computers for SchoolsHELP! It’s not what you think. Our problem isn’t knowledge… it’s equipment.  Teaching computer isn’t optional today, not even in Panama or any country of Latin America.  So you ask, "Why would you want to teach computer to a bunch of poor kids?"  Why wouldn't you? Two specialty subjects are absolutely essential today if we are going to help these kids out of the pit of poverty:  computers and English!  Our own experience sponsoring Aldo through Latin America ChildCare convinced us of how important this is. (Read Aldo's Story.)

All our Christian schools have some type of computer lab in Panama.  Often the equipment is outdated and obsolete.  We want to do better.  We all know, including the parents of the children and young people we minister too, that computer knowledge is a gateway to career opportunities.

Computers for SchoolsA few years ago, a pastor from one of our churches was with us in Panama leading a construction team at one of our schools.  A couple of the members of the team visited the humble computer lab and helped the teacher with some training and hardware problems.  The pastor asked me if we could use more help. As we brainstormed possibilities, one interesting idea surfaced. Why not invite a small group of computer “techies” to come and assemble computers and set up computer labs in our schools?

A new, vital missionary outreach was born--Computers for Schools--providing our churches another opportunity for missionary involvement.  Here's how it works:

Computers for SchoolsChurches assemble a small group of 5 to 10 people.  Because much of the work is "assembly line" production, it isn't necessary that these people have technical knowledge.  Of course, one or two members need to know the ins and outs of assembling computers and installing software!

Churches raise funds for the "internal" components for 30, 40, 50, up to 75 computers.  The church purchases the components in the United States.  We have a great contact that helps us with this part.  These components are:  Motherboard and processor, memory and hard drive.

The church also needs to purchase the operating system license, network hubs (one for every school) and connectors.  The total cost of these components runs between $150 and $175 per computer.  Team members carry these components in their checked or carry-on luggage.

Computers for SchoolsWe are in the middle of a paradigm shift, moving from desktop computers to "mini" computers.  This will minimize the component assembly work, but ends up taking longer to configure the minis.  In the end, it takes about the same amount of time.  But the new minis are saving a lot of space and money!

We (the local country) select 3 to 6 schools that will be receiving a computer lab, usually comprised of between 8 and 15 computers per lab.  We purchase in country the computer case, DVD-ROM, monitor, keyboard, mouse, UPS and network cable.  We require that the schools that are receiving the equipment participate in the Microsoft Academic License program that provides the latest version of Windows and Office Professional.  We help the schools to prepare the room that will be used for the lab.  These preparations include electrical, security, furniture and teacher selection.

Computers for SchoolsTypically a team arrives on Friday or Saturday.  They spend the first day "imaging" the hard drives (installing software) and assembling enough computers for the first two schools.  Computers are delivered to the schools during the mornings, Monday through Friday. Assembly continues in the afternoons.  The teams don't just deliver computers!  They spend time with kids in the new computer lab and often do ministry in the schools.

Computers for Schools is more than just a good idea. To date, we have conducted nine campaigns, with three different churches/ministries sending teams.  In total these teams have provided 765 computers for schools in six different countries, 430 for Panama schools alone!  We work closely with Little Davey Project, a partner ministry lead by David and Deborah Kaiser, which has sent ten teams.  Please take a few moments to read the reports of these teams:

Church/ Ministry Year Country Computers
Calvary Temple, Seattle, WA 2002 Panama 50
Portland Christian Center, OR 2005 Panama 50
Little Davey Project (PCC) 2007 Costa Rica 50
Little Davey Project (PCC) 2008 Nicaragua 75
Eastridge Christian Assembly, Issaquah, WA 2008 Panama 55
Little Davey Project (PCC) 2009 Panama 50
60 New Computers for Schools in El Salvador  2010 El Salvador 60
Little Davey Delivers 75 Computers 2011 Panama 75
Little Davey Rides Again! 2012 Panama 75
Little Davey Project 2013 Dominican Rep. 75
Little Davey Delivers Again 2014 Panama 75
Little Davey Project Blesses Six Guatemalan Schools 2015 Guatemala 75
Little Davey Project - Panama 2016 Panama 75
Little Davey Continues Investment in Panama 2017 Panama 75
Little Davey Project: Target El Salvador 2018 El Salvador 75

If you'd be interested in putting together a team or participating in one, please send us an email at Panorama@Boyds.org.  If you're able to help with an offering to assist with purchasing components that are purchased in country, please click the following link to open the secure Assemblies of God online giving form. Please specify “Class 50, Computers” in the comments field.  Or please send your offering to:

Assemblies of God World Missions
LACC Computers for Schools (Acct. 5633268, Class 50)
1445 Boonville Ave.
Springfield, MO 65802