We hear a lot about the ways in which technology has changed lives, but it's easy to forget just how technologically privileged some parts of the world are while others are not.
While many of us can easily hop on our computers, phones, and tablets to devour everything from the latest celebrity news to innovative medical advances, there are children in many parts of the world without access to the internet to complete their homework; teachers with outdated materials who can't search for a new study to share with their students; medical professionals who are unable to read about breakthroughs in their field in a daily email digest.
While the internet is an integral part of our lives, it's a critical missing component for so many — something that could vastly improve their experiences if they could only access it.
That's where the ZubaBox comes in.
A ZubaBox provides rural areas with solar internet centers, offering those who need it most a technology many of us take for granted.
So, what does that mean?
Solar panels are placed onto a container that's converted into a tech hub for people who do not have 24/7 access to the internet.
The implications are life-changing.
David Barker, former chief executive of Computer Aid — the organization powering this technology — spoke to BusinessGreen about the impact:
"This allows the doctor to contact specialists in the city hospital, school children to access educational material, and local people to expand their businesses, David Barker [explained]. 'Now even the local bank comes round via Macha and it plugs into the internet link, sets up its little booth, and gives you your cash,' Barker said. 'Suddenly you’ve got teachers who want to work there because they can get paid.'”
And this is just the beginning.
There are currently 10 ZubaBoxes located in neighborhoods throughout Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Nigeria. And on May 26, 2016, South America received its first ZubaBox in Cazuca, Bogota. William Jimenez, regional coordinator at Tiempo de Juego, said this to Computer Aid:
"Since the Lab arrived, the younger generation has naturally been curious and excited but the emotion that this event has stirred in the elders has been really moving. The fact that someone has finally considered Cazucá a priority is not only important [because of the] technology and training provided, but also because of the optimism it inspires in the entire community."
The ZubaBoxes provide a necessary technology, but just as importantly, they provide hope and the promise of a path forward to communities that have long felt neglected.
Next stop? The Kakuma refugee camp.
Kakuma, located in Kenya, is one of the world's largest refugee camps.
Teachers at the Kakuma refugee camp are currently teaching 150 to 200 students at a time, with one textbook for every 10 students and no computers. Think about what a difference a ZubaBox will make for those kids. And think about what a difference it would make for those teachers.
SAVIC, an organization run by Kakuma refugees, is working hard to raise awareness and funding for the ZubaBox. They aim to provide up to 1,800 young refugees an outlet through which they can expand their horizons, connect with the modern world, and share their stories.
If their efforts are rewarded, they'll be able to provide their community with access to what is quickly becoming a basic necessity, one that can show them options for how to begin to rebuild.
Watch this video to see how the ZubaBoxes are built.