Soacha Digital Village
The Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF), along with volunteers from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, will travel to the area of Bogotá, Colombia in early August to launch the new Soacha Digital Village. This Community Technology and Learning Center (CTLC) will serve as an after-school "hub" to provide daily technology education training for an estimated 50 to 60 displaced children, ages 5-16. The Soacha Digital Village will focus on using technology as a tool for learning and building marketable skills for marginalized youth, and serving as a place where they and their families can share ideas to improve their community.
The digital village and the CTLC is a partnership between YTF and the Semilla & Fruto Foundation. This community foundation was established in 2001 to break the cycle of poverty in of the community of Soacha, Colombia, through programs and projects that focus on education, nutrition, the environment and income generation. YTF typically works with grassroots organizations, like the Semilla & Fruto Foundation, to understand what the most important needs of their community are and then introduce appropriate technology to help them solve those needs.
The Soacha Digital Village will offer after-school programs that integrate technology into daily activities, computer classes offered at low cost to unemployed adults and at risk youth, job training programs and technology entrepreneurship programs where youth learn skills like webpage and graphic design. The digital village will also partner with English as a Second Language (ESL) organizations in the community to improve communication skills of the children, provide technology and life-skills training for children and their mothers and organize "community story" writing competitions.
YTF recognizes that technology is a powerful enabling tool that can support critical thinking and other developmental skills, and works to equip youth to compete in the 21st century economy with skills like digital literacy, problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration. The Soacha Digital Village is a development built off YTF's current work in Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and the United States.