Sponsored mostly by the Ping and Amy Chao Family Foundation through the Transparent Fish Fund, and inspired by Orphan Impact’s pioneering program in Vietnam, our Chinese partner organization (Shanghai Minhang District Huacao Pulushi Youth Development Centre 上海闵行区华漕铺路石青少年发展中心) has been running an innovative digital literacy program for disadvantaged children in China since 2016.
Digital literacy is basic for survival in the modern world. Unfortunately, many rural, migrant, and disadvantaged Chinese children and youth have no computers at home or school, and no computer lessons, so their digital literacy skills are very poor. This contributes to a low rate of high school or vocational school enrollment, and the risk of exploitation, abuse, and disadvantage when they enter the workplace from junior middle school.
By providing the schools with the necessary hardware, along with a carefully planned curriculum and properly trained teachers and volunteers, the “Stepping Up” Digital Literacy and Life Skills program helps children develop the life skills and digital literacy skills they need to meet the challenges of a tech-focused future.
Our innovative curriculum is designed with many years of learning in mind and divided into levels and modules or courses based on student’s age and abilities, as well as focusing on different competencies. Five key areas are covered by our curriculum:
- Computer basics (e.g., online search and applications, security, typing, Microsoft Office, and smartphone technology);
- Coding and programming;
- Life skills and social-emotional learning (social awareness, self-awareness, self-regulation, positive communication, determination, and responsible decision-making);
- Hardware and embedded system design;
- Career readiness.