I had a totally life changing experience that not only lifted my hopes and aspirations, but proved to me that I can and will make the difference in the world that I have dreamed of.
In my opinion, Team4Tech is about finding out what uncharted territories exist in education, and boldly tackling them with grace.
Last year Team4tech partnered with my company, I had most amazing opportunity to join T4T project in Vietnam. Our project supported Kidspire whose mission is to empower children growing up in Vietnamese orphanages through education and technology learning. Our project created digital portfolios for every child to self-reflect, build up their experience of their technology capabilities.
T4T's unique program began two months before we travelled to Vietnam. The unique leadership program, learnings, project planning during this time was pivotal in our successful delivery while in-country. I believe the outstanding impact and the success of our project is attributed to the exceptional leadership and extraordinary talents of our T4T lead Gail Shen. One of most remarkable aspects of T4T is not only their resources but their gifted, passionate, impactful team.
What I love most is, a year later and we continue to receive updates from T4T on Kidspire progress. It's so inspiring to know that 160 children now have a digital portfolio and by the end of this year it will be rolled out to 4 more orphanages and reach 240 more children. I am so grateful to have been part of this unique, transformative experience and to make a meaningful impact to society.
Being an engineer in a tech company, I was immediately drawn to Team4Tech Foundation as soon as I heard about it. Not only we get an opportunity to help the underserved children, but we also get to do in the way we know best and that is to share our knowledge on the technologies with them. So, why not! It sounds great, even just on paper.
Then in 2019 I got a chance to join a Team4Tech project in Vietnam, and the experience was really awesome, different for sure. We came and delivered the technical workshops which we had prepared ahead of time for, but it's really those little moments in-between that stay with me. What I remember most is the students' super happy faces when they were handed the chromebooks to work on. I'm guessing it's because past workshops had been very fun, or screen time is just rare, or maybe both. We visited the same orphanage for a few days, so we also had time to play with them, saw how they go about their days and on the last day had a group dinner with them. Kids loved the KFC meals with a coke. It was kinda sad as we left, but we also knew and felt empowered that Team4Tech Foundation will come back with another project as they continue their mission.
If you have a chance to join a Team4Tech project, all I can say is you've got to go for it!
Team4Tech's leadership development program was a very unique experience. They collaborated with Cadence Design Systems where I am currently employed to select 10 employees for the leadership program where we were to visit Vietnam to teach teachers at an orphanage. From day 1 when we all virtually met for the very first time till the last day of project all the planning was to the point. It was amazing to see the impact you can have on less fortunate children. But that was just one part of it. The impact it had on enhancing my personal skills was amazing. It's been almost a year since the project ended and we are still getting updates from them regarding the progress of the work we delivered.
It's a once in a lifetime opportunity which provides a unique experience of personal skills development as well as a chance to do something good for the society. If you are fortunate enough to ever get this opportunity, all I would say is fasten your seat belt and be ready for the experience of a lifetime.
Team4Tech is amazing - they come alongside our organization and truly help us to brainstorm solutions for some of our most significant challenges - and then they go out and recruit corporate volunteers who can help us to address these challenges and overcome them - making our program stronger and more beneficial to our students....and ultimately increasing the impact.
Team4Tech is a remarkable organization. I had the honor of volunteering with Team4Tech December of 2019. Our team worked to motivate and empower the students and teachers of Ratanak Kiri by organizing interactive classes in STEM.
Team4Tech partnered with my employer to source an inspiring team of individuals to band together on this project. To be a part of a team that brought coding, physical computing, and robotics to classrooms in rural Cambodia was extremely special. Not only did we see the immediate impact our team made within these schools by making STEM more accessible, but Team4Tech continues to keep us in the loop so we can continue to support and watch these schools progress in their lessons in STEM. This experience has a lasting impact - it allowed us to grow as leaders, and give back to this community.
Team4Tech organized a volunteer project through my company Cadence in Spring of 2019. I was one of ten volunteers for a 10 day mission in Vietnam to teach technology enhancing skills to the staff at Kidspire and the infield training in one of the network of orphanages Kidspire serves. Now 14 months later, it stands out as one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Team4Techs laison Gail Shen did an outstanding job of selecting, training and preparing the team from the 130 Cadence applicants. The impact we able to make on the Kidspire staff and them on us was heart warming and eye opening, and has motivated me to stay involved as an alumni. I can't say enough how strongly Gail's leadership skills contributed to the success and outcome of the whole trip. And as an alumni I've seen how Team4Tech was similarly successful with a Cadence team in Uganda in the fall, and is now following up with a second team in Vietnam. I was able to experience first hand how organizations like Team4Tech and Kidspire leverage so much and make such an impact in the lives of the Vietnam orphans. There is no one else there doing the job. Team4tech does an outstanding job of bringing it all together and making it as successful as possible, and it's clear it's a calling to them and not just a job, they totally have their heart in their work.
Team4Tech was fantastic to work with through and through on the project I participated on in Cambodia in late 2019. Every staff member I interacted with was thoughtful, considerate, and accommodating. Throughout the project I was well informed of goals, expectations, and milestones, which ultimately led to a successful project. What I appreciate about this organization is their continued follow-up to keep volunteers briefed on any developments and feedback. They have also continued to bring us back into the loop with other opportunities so that we can engage if we're interested and able.
I believe Team4Tech makes a big difference in the lives of those whom they interact with directly and indirectly. They've certainly changed the way I think about volunteering - for the better.
Team4Tech is an incredible organization that connects the world through education and technology. I spent time as a volunteer in rural Cambodia teaching coding and robotics to high school students and was able to see the incredible impact that our project had on the students (& the lifelong friendships and connections that were made). Team4Tech is extremely thoughtful and sustainable change is the end goal. Team4Tech connects tech companies to NGO's that are in-country so that volunteers can work on projects that are organized by people who have their boots on the ground to make sure that growth and progress is permanent. Team4Tech builds out immersive programs where volunteers are challenged and stretched to be better leaders, global citizens and employees.
I was a volunteer through my company on a T4T-led project last year. My experience far exceeded my expectations, due in no small part to all the wonderful people our team interacted with from Team 4 Tech along the way. Our project leader was exceptionally gifted at helping our group identify certain skillsets for aspects of the project that proved to be invaluable. I also found Team 4 Tech's transparency around the project supplies, funding, etc., to be highly professional and informative. I felt I always had the tools and guidance needed from Team 4 Tech to fundraise successfully, make an impact on the project while in country, and be able to thoughtfully and professionally sum up the project to our company and others.
Our team worked in the remote RatanaKiri province, near Banlung, Cambodia, and it was an extraordinary experience! We brought technology to remote schools in areas of the country most populated by the indigenous people of Cambodia, who also happen to be some of the most marginalized.
It quickly became clear, aptitude in technology was not the issue, but rather, access. These students and teachers understood that technology is a great equalizer for them, and they were eager to learn how to code, or understand the fundamentals of robotics, or better understand circuits and conductivity.
Seeing a student make the connections to these things, and then show you their own interpretations of the content, was life-changing. Team4Tech fosters this kind of learning and enablement, and I'm forever changed by the experience they provided.
I'm a business operations professional working for a large software company in the Bay Area. My company and Team4Tech selected me to join a service team to impact the educational community in an under-resourced area east of Cape Town, South Africa.
You might think that the time on the ground was where the benefit and joy of serving on this team came from. As much as that was the case, it was a dynamic sense of giving and getting that played-out, which started happening two months prior to stepping foot on the plane to get our team there. Over that two months, Team4Tech taught us how to immerse, how to collaborate, and how to share in a way that brings people in and reaches them right where they are. That's serving.
The time on the ground is the culmination of your prep. efforts - and it's great - but it's the entire process that makes Team4Tech's process so impactful - for all stakeholders.
I am a 73-year-old retiree from IBM and various other tech and consultant jobs, including working for myself. I have worked in technology since 1966 so technology has been my life outside my family. For several years after I retired in 2011, I volunteered for local non-profit groups, developing web sites and small applications. I also volunteered with the local Library but I didn’t get much satisfaction putting books on shelves and it did not utilize my skill set which is all centered around the technology world.
I searched the Internet looking for organizations that I felt could use my skills to advantage. I wanted to give back to the world as well as feel like I wasn’t just allowing my life to slip away.
I found Team4Tech which looked interesting but I could not figure out exactly what I could do for them. After a few weeks of discussing with my wife and thinking about it, I filled out an application. I then forgot about it as I didn’t believe anything would happen. Surprise! A couple of months later I received an e-mail asking to have a phone interview. Martin, from Team4Tech called me and we discussed the details of what a Team4Tech assignment would entail and some potential engagements. Another few months went by and I received another email from Dawn with a specific engagement offer to help a school in the township of Ga-Rankuwa near Pretoria, South Africa. I would be working with a set of around 9 other volunteers of various backgrounds.
This was wonderful! I would be able to use my skills to give back, meet some exciting new people, learn some new skills, and travel to new places in the world. Over the next three months, I virtually met with the team of volunteers. We met weekly, and each week we discussed a new aspect of the engagement which was to be with the LEAP 6 School to set up new computers and help them integrate technology into their classrooms. We had the goals to increase the digital literacy confidence of teachers and inspire youth with technology. The in-country part of the engagement would be two weeks at the end of November and beginning of December.
As I was to find out, this two weeks of actual engagement would take several weeks of planning and discussion. I also discovered that these weeks of planning and discussion helped to make a cohesive team out of ten very different people with a large range of ages and skills. We ranged from Clarence at 23 to Al at 76 and with skills from web design, low level programming, teaching, entrepreneur with several start-ups, SAP executive, and Project Management. This was an eclectic group and as you might suspect, we did not all agree on politics and our views of life but we all did agree on the need for what we were trying to accomplish. The focus of what we were doing and the weekly meetings helped to make us an excellent team. This teamwork was to become very important when we finally arrived in South Africa.
When we arrived at the school on Monday morning, we met with the teachers and students and they welcomed us in the chapel with beautiful music and dancing. We then divided and went with the children to visit their homes and meet their families. This was possible because we arrived at the end of the school year and the students would be graduating the next week. We quickly discovered that our schedules and plans were going to take major revisions. The teachers were very busy with final grading and awarding of honors.
What at first looked like a major problem became a major opportunity. Because it was the week before graduation, the students were available and we immediately started making plans to work with them. We developed classes for the students to teach them SCRATCH programming, use MAKEY-MAKEY to interact with SCRATCH programs to make music and control computers, learn how to be entrepreneurs and develop their own businesses, develop web sites with WordPress, and learn how to develop Android programs. Our group did all of this as well as teaching the teachers about how to utilize Microsoft Office and all the Google tools to leverage the knowledge available on the Internet. This was a very rewarding two weeks and with daily review and team building meetings at the end of each day, we became a close-knit team. We helped each other with the presentations and met each new challenge with joint solutions. What a wonderful trip. The teachers and students were very appreciative and were wonderful to work with. Each day was an exciting new experience with us learning as much as we were teaching. The graduation night was an experience not to be missed as we watched the students receive their diplomas and their awards.
Team4Tech has an excellent approach that provides leadership and team building while at the same time providing support and knowledge to aid the advancement of learning and the use of technology in classrooms around the world. I would not have missed this adventure for the world. I met new friends that I expect to keep for the rest of my life and I could use my skills in ways I had not expected. I look forward to another adventure in the future.
If you, like me, are looking for ways to have new experiences while giving back to the people of the world, please consider contacting Team4Tech and filling out that application. If your company is looking for ways to give back and reward their employees, please get them to look at Team4Tech and consider working with them to set up a program.
Realizing My Retirement Dream
I retired from SAP in 2015. During my 15 year business development career at SAP I led many exciting projects in the emerging markets, including a rural commerce project in India, and opening SAP’s offices in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. While working on these projects, I got to experience firsthand how IT and e-commerce can drive dramatic economic as well as social change in people’s lives. Motivated by being able to make a difference, I started to develop a dream that I would dedicate my time in retirement to supporting IT projects in the developing countries.
Just before Christmas last year, I returned home from a service project in South Africa to advance the quality of high school education using IT. The project was organized by Team4Tech, a Silicon Valley-based nonprofit that helps technology companies bring to life their corporate values and leadership development goals through immersive service opportunities. Since 2013, Team4Tech has engaged over 200 volunteers from 18 technology companies, benefiting more than 33,000 teachers and learners.
For our project, we worked with LEAP, a leading nonprofit that focuses on advancing science and math education for children in under-served neighborhoods. LEAP operates six schools in South Africa, and their approach has produced dramatic results. Today over 98% of the LEAP students graduate from high school compared to a national average of 70%.
Our project was Team4Tech’s fourth collaboration with LEAP, and was located at their LEAP 6 campus in Ga-Rankuwa Township near Pretoria. The overarching goal was to set up new computers and provide training workshops for the teachers and students, to boost their performance and enthusiasm for science and math. My role on the project was to teach the teachers how Microsoft Office can be used to improve productivity by digitizing the classroom as well has make their lessons more engaging for the students. The teachers were blown away when I showed them how to use excel pivot tables to analyze the students’ grades to help them identify problems and best practices. They also saw huge benefits of having their lesson plans in Word and recorded PowerPoint lessons. Finally, they had a road-map to start reducing the paper work and increase the time they can spend with their students. To quote one of the teachers: “Our school has been transformed. We are now a 21st century school.”
However, my most rewarding moment on the trip was teaching the learners Scratch, a programming language developed by MIT to develop basic programming concepts. One of my fellow volunteers even showed the children how to create mobile applications. Standing in the computer lab seeing how quickly the learners picked up Scratch, the excitement on their faces when they had completed their very own mobile app, it struck me that I was realizing my dream. In today’s digitized world, having a basic understanding of coding will benefit many of the children’s careers. There are over 70K IT job openings in South Africa today, and I am confident that at least one of these will be filled by a LEAP graduate.
In addition to installing computers, laptops and projectors, our team of 10 volunteers also introduced the teachers and learners to a wide range of educational software, including IXL and KA Lite. To get them excited about technology, we also showed them how to: 1) experience virtual reality using Google Cardboard, 2) create music through Makey Makey, and 3) build their own website through WordPress.
My advice is to you is to realize your dream. Get involved now, it will be worth it.