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Unlocking every child's potential
Rudayna Abdo, Thaki Founder
A child’s demographics and socio-economic background should not define their learning opportunities nor dictate their future outcomes. However, countless children are deprived of their right to quality education when the educational systems available to them are overcrowded and under-resourced. Unfortunately, these circumstances are found in communities across the globe.
This is where the Thaki model serves as a bridge connecting under-equipped learners with the resources they need to build the skills, attitudes and insights vital for success in the ever-evolving global marketplace.
Replicable and scalable in a variety of settings, Thaki’s model involves stakeholders present in communities across the globe; those who have devices they no longer need, those who need devices, and those willing to connect the two.
How does it work?
Thaki identifies those with devices that are no longer needed through an effective approach combining network outreach and referrals. Device donors are often eager to find a second home and an environmentally friendly solution for their gently used technology and they gain fulfillment from knowing their devices are going to support learners in need rather than into landfills.
We reach those in need of devices through forging relationships with partner organizations in our target communities. To date, Thaki has served refugee and vulnerable children in the Middle East where one third of the world’s 79.5 million forcibly displaced people are found and we aim to expand our work there as well as to new geographies as we grow.
In the past five years we estimate that over 9,000 children who otherwise would not have the opportunity to build their digital skills, have learned on a Thaki device through our 40+ partner schools, community centers, NGOs and other organizations.
A differentiating element of Thaki’s work is that we add interactive multilingual learning content, which is contextualized for the local environment and is made available offline so that learners without an internet connection can still have a rich learning experience. We do this by acquiring a combination of open source and proprietary programs as well as creating our own guidance for users to navigate and apply the content in meaningful ways according to their setting.
We calculate that a typical Thaki laptop loaded with content leverages over $3600 in value. Considering the number of laptops we have repurposed over the years, the direct monetary value of the rich library of educational content has grown above US $2 million. More importantly, the overall value of providing a continuum of education to the children within their families and their communities is many times greater.
So what does a Thaki laptop mean to the learners who use it?
- It means the learner has a virtual window into the world outside their immediate environment and can discover information and goals that otherwise may not seem attainable.
- It means the learner is equipped with the tools that increase confidence to pursue dreams.
- It means the learner has the opportunity to become a digital native; one accustomed to navigating the digital environments that permeate higher education, employment, and daily life settings.
- It means the learner has skills and knowledge they can pass on to their siblings, parents, neighbors and friends.
- It means the learner can have a more personalized learning experience in what may otherwise be an overcrowded classroom with little time for 1 on 1 attention.
- It means the learner can learn in the language they speak at home and see educational characters who look and sound like them.
- It means the learner gains ownership in their own developmental journey through a large choice of self-paced responsive content.
- It means the learn is exposed to other cultures’ lifestyles, languages, and values.
- It means the learner is exposed to non-academic content on topics such as gender, well-being and mindfulness, diversity and inclusion, the Sustainable Development Goals, etc.
- It means the learner experiences the kindness of a stranger; someone they’ll never know gifted something of value to them.
- It means the learner has a chance to feel the responsibility and duty of care that comes with look after something of value.
- It means the learner witnesses a real life example of circularity and conscious consumption in a region grappling with engaging best practices with sustainability and e-waste.