Saturday, December 20, 2014

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Capital Region

The gift of technology

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Albany/HV: The gift of technology
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With the rise of modern technology, great strides have been made in the classroom. However, those benefits have not always been felt in third world countries. This holiday season, a local organization is hoping to change that. Matt Hunter has the story.

SARATOGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- "When I first got back on the plane after my first trip, my first thought was 'I wonder if we're the ones that are in poverty?' Because they really had a sense of family and a real sense of community that I had never witnessed before," said Philip Coltart, Hope for Kenya.

In his own words, Philip Coltart's first trip to an impoverished village in Kenya was "a shock to the system." He and other members of his Corinth based church visited to help bring the children, many of them orphans, running water and a better education.

"You're always inspired by them, you see their strength and what they're able to do and it just gives you strength," said Coltart.

Out of that trip the organization "Hope for Kenya" was born. Since then, they've gone back several times and raised enough money to build a new school for 200 students and a dormitory. In recent months, they gave the gift of technology by providing teachers with an iPad.

"When we went over there, they didn't even have a textbook, so just to show them a picture of a bear or a mountain, they'd follow you all around the campus just to see it again. So we knew we had potential to unlock their thinking and their learning potential," said Coltart.

Just six months after receiving the device, Coltart says the students’ test scores have improved dramatically. They're now hoping to expand that learning even further by urging Capital Region residents to donate their old iPads, should they receive newer models as a gift this holiday season. It's a small gesture he believes will pay huge dividends thousands of miles away.

"It's amazing what a huge amount of difference we can have just by making a few small contributions that will just elevate them to the next level to where they're stuck in a rut and now they're actually on the first rung of the ladder to getting out of poverty," said Coltart.

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