We began our work in Bolivia in 2012 as a small, independent project started by Adelante Bolivia President, Oscar Raziel Armijo, and Vice-President, Henry Coca. The project focused on providing computer classes to primary schools in the impoverished, rural countryside of Cochabamba, Bolivia. From there we began servicing various family shelters in Cochabamba providing free computer classes for the women and children at the shelter. Demand for services quickly grew and Oscar and Henry decided to transform their project into a non-profit organization to build up the resources required to meet the demand and as a result they formed Adelante Bolivia in early 2013.
Adelante Bolivia began with two computer labs in rural, impoverished communities in Cochabamba, starting the first lab in 2013 and the second lab in 2014. The computer labs provided computer classes to students ages 6-19 as well as adults from the community. The computer classes focused on providing basic computer skills as well as introduction to core software programs such as Windows 7 and Microsoft office. Additionally, educational software was provided for the younger students to reinforce knowledge in core subjects such as math, reading, science, and geography. The labs were equipped with 10-15 laptop computers and staffed by two computer instructors. The labs were in operation until 2015 and in a period of two years had serviced over 150 students and 40 adults.
In 2014 Adelante Bolivia began partnering with local businesses and was sponsored by Entel, Bolivia’s largest telecommunications company, to provide computer training to 25 indigenous communities throughout Bolivia, servicing a total of 600 students and adults. During this time Adelante Bolivia also began working closely with schools to provide workshops and seminars for administrators and teachers that coved basic computer skills and helped to develop technology based curriculums. Overall Adelante Bolivia has worked with seven primary and secondary schools, serving a total of 250 teachers and administrators.
We are elated to be part of growing national movement in Bolivia to improve access to computers and expand computer literacy. However when we first began our work there was little belief in Bolivia that computer literacy was unattainable as most assumed that the technological gap was simply too big to overcome. Since our beginnings as a small independent project, we have provided computer training to 1,200 students, teachers, and adults and our accomplishments in the last three years have proven that the technological gap can be closed and furthermore we have demonstrated that a lot can be done with relatively few resources.