Together We Built a School in Senegal – and Changed the Future
In the small, remote village of Soupa Sérère, Senegal, you’ll find a small school that serves over 170 students from across the region in three combined-year classrooms. The student population had outgrown the space, so the CloudFest community stepped up to raise €25,360 to build more classrooms – and change the future for the kids in the region.
100% of the funds we raised went straight into the project. Working closely with the Gossas Department government and Ministry of Education, as well as local leaders, the construction team got right to work. Besides dealing with a global pandemic, they also had to contend with Senegal’s challenging rainy season. But now the work is done! Just check out these photos!
The area around Soupa Serere suffers from bouts of famine and endemic poverty caused by inadequate crop production and a lack of non-agricultural economic opportunities. Despite these massive challenges, 85% of local children attend primary school! However, many villages do not have schools at all, so children must travel up to ten kilometers to the nearest school – in this case, the one in Soupa Serere. When they arrive, these students now find brand-new spaces in which to learn.
“We are infinitely thankful to CloudFest,” said Omar Faye, the principal of the school. “The new buildings have positively changed the school. Many children stayed home before, but now they are attending classes because they enjoy learning and feel safe here. The buildings really attract the children to come because they feel it’s worth it now.”
Investing in the Future
In organizing CloudFest, we have to be forward-thinking. We’re not just looking ahead to CloudFest 2022, we’re thinking about CloudFest 2032 and CloudFest 2042 – and who will be there. The talent just waiting to emerge from what we call “the developing world” is immense, and we’d be crazy not to help it thrive. These are tomorrow’s business leaders, visionaries, and game-changers. The seeds have been planted already, and they just need the sunlight of education to help them grow.
Every single member of the CloudFest community has gotten to where they are today because of the educational opportunities available to them. That one kid who struggled during math class at first is now a software engineer. The teenager who grew to love social studies is now an ethicist, paving the way for a more equitable internet. This phenomenon should not be limited to wealthy regions.
Children Face Systemic Challenges Across the Globe
According to the UN, over 617 million children worldwide are not achieving minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics. This leads to an ongoing cycle of illiteracy, low employability, and poverty, caused by problems such as:
- Endemic poverty
- Gender discrimination
- Poor school infrastructure and sanitation
- Lack of school buildings
- Low-quality teaching materials and inadequate teaching
“The figures are staggering both in terms of the waste of human potential and for the prospects of achieving sustainable development,” said Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics in the press release linked above.
This demands a direct response from those of us positioned to make an impact. While we can’t directly tackle every obstacle these kids face, we can definitely help level the playing field for them, and that’s exactly what we do. The heavy lifting required of us is actually very small in the grand scheme of things, since the Cloud is mostly shaped from rich countries. When we take action, whole world reaps the benefits when generations of kids can escape the cycle of poverty and lost opportunity.
Entrepreneurs for Knowledge: Our Partners in Change
Our partners at Entrepreneurs for Knowledge (EFK) have a proven track record of facilitating the construction of schools for underprivileged communities around the world. We’re proud to work with such a wonderful group of people and tap into their experience and passion. EFK has around a dozen active school-building projects on the go, including:
EFK’s roster of 20 completed projects across the globe includes:
- Burkina Faso
- DR Congo
EFK is a “foundation as a service”, facilitating and supporting the project management and implementation of each project, empowering change-makers to focus fully on achieving that final result. The Soupa Serere school expansion project was brought to EFK by the Center for Renewable Energy and Appropriate Technology for the Environment (CREATE!), which already had a 10-year history of building schools in Senegal.
More projects are in the pipeline, and you can be sure that we will be raising funds for one of them during CloudFest 2022. Check out the ongoing and upcoming school construction and renovation projects, and join your Cloud colleagues in funding them. EFK covers its own operating costs, and every Euro you donate gets distributed with total transparency.
Leveling the Playing Field, One School at a Time
For each year of CloudFest, our goal is to build or expand a school in a region that needs it most. These schools serve the most vulnerable communities, unlocking the intelligence, talent, and imagination of new generations.
For CloudFest 2019, we built a school in Sololá, Guatemala, which sits on the steep mountainside descending to Lago d’Atitlan. Thanks to generous donations from companies and individuals in the cloud computing industry and some fantastic construction work by our local partners, over 500 kids get a better shot at a brighter future. In October 2019, the newly-renovated Escuela Oficial Urbana Mixta San Antonio opened its doors: Soeren von Varchmin, Chairman of CloudFest’s Advisory Board, was thrilled to attend in person!
While we often focus on the kids (as well we should), Solosá’s school architect Luis Alberto Palacios made an excellent point: “It’s not just about a safe learning environment, but also about a space where the teachers have the opportunity to provide their students with a quality education.”
We’ll be revealing the details for the 2022 CloudFest School project soon, as we continue our commitment to investing in the long-term future of the Cloud, and the human beings who bring it to life.MORE INFO ON CLOUDFEST CHARITY REGISTER NOW FOR THE BEST CLOUD FESTIVAL IN THE WORLD