A University of Alberta student’s love for languages and travel originally drew him to South America, but since then, he’s gone back to help connect the people with something we often take for granted.
Originally from Wisconsin, 21-year-old Matt Jeppesen just finished his second year of an Industrial Design major.
He’s been to school all over the world, which led him to volunteer in an orphanage in Lima, Peru before he came to Canada.
But he left Edmonton for Peru again this summer to continue his work with Wasiymi Wasiki, an NGO working in South America since 2008.
He is reuniting with a former classmate while abroad, Katie Marney, to plan the “Proyecto Conectados”, or Project Connected, in the districts of Cieneguilla and Villa Maria del Triunfo in Peru.
“The plan is to install computer labs of 10 machines each in two schools near Lima,” explained Jeppesen.
“From there, Katie and I will lead activity sessions incorporating lots of group work and play where technology is integrated in the way that we use it in North America, as another facet of reality, not a separate world.”
Computers have made our lives so much easier in North America, and Jeppesen said he hopes they can do the same for those in Peru.
“Families in these areas are disconnected because parents work long hours in agricultural work,” Jeppesen said.
“By opening the computers to the public as well as students, we hope to give parents the skills to break into a better-paid level of employment with fewer hours, and of course more time at home.”
Future plans for the projects include expanding and installing a computer lab into a third school.
But Jeppesen explained that fundraising is crucial and must be done first, since each of these labs cost about $6000.
To follow Jeppesen and the team’s progress in Peru, visit conectadosforpeace.blogspot.com.