The other night we got some great news! Our team had been awarded the prestigious Sewa Pioneer Award at a function at Portcullis House, London!
This is the story behind these winners who were felicitated for their contribution to Sewa Day by Barry Gardiner MP, Rt Hon Sadiq Khan MP, RT Hon Keith Vaz MP, Bob Blackman MP, Gareth Thomas MP, Steve Pound MP and Shailesh Vara MP.
…It was a unique and surprising experience, on a pleasant Saturday morning, for the support staff at Our Own English High School Fujairah when a group of young sparks trained them in the use and the usefulness of digital technology. The project, named ‘Bridging the Digital Gap’ is one of the unique SEWA programmes to have been selected from around the globe. It is one of the Five School initiatives selected to be honoured with a Sewa Pioneer award at the Portcullis House, London, UK on 24th June, 2015.
Sewa or selfless service is synonymous with the ethics at Our Own Fujairah. Over the past years the students have worked closely with rehabilitation centres in Sharjah, labour camps in Fujairah, the Emirates Environmental Group, and the Fujairah Municipality to support the greater community and experience the joy of sharing.
‘Bridging the digital gap’ saw a training camp being organized for the support staff on navigating the wonders of the virtual world the nuances of computer and mobile technology, the latest mobile phone applications, social media and other technological marvels. Each student was assigned one member from the support staff. The initial phase witnessed a 17-member strong student force teaching a myriad of moderate to advanced applications like using Gmail and social sites to form groups, chat & video chat, editing photos on the computers or mobile phones, downloading useful Apps, downloading free songs and YouTube videos, surfing and learning from the net, developing a hobby from the net besides other day-to-day applications. Some of the adults were also given hands-on training on basic and advanced Microsoft Office applications. Such was the impact that a few weeks later most of the support staff went back to their mentors to learn more!
The innovative service concept was born out of the initial brainstorming when Mr. Simon Samuel asked the Principal as to what the team should do for Sewa Day! This brainchild of the Principal, Mr. Himmat Dhillon, in fact, proved to be not only an initiative to bridge the digital divide but served to span the social divide as well. Mr. Dhillon stressed on the importance of the 21st century learners learning to imbibe values of giving and sharing. Two of the young mentors, Kaashvi and Niharika shared their experience stating, “We usually do not get to interact with our Support Staff on a daily basis. It felt great to be appreciated by them but more was the happiness we experienced through sharing and seeing them so empowered.”
The students asserted that what started as an initiative of a Sewa programme is now an integral part of their lives.