Students at Twajiji Primary School in Bidibidi Refugee Settlement, Uganda entering the BrightBox classroom.

Reflecting on milestones from 2021 and looking forward to an impactful 2022 with Simbi Foundation

Welcome to 2022!

We at Simbi Foundation have so many plans to support our partnered school communities this new year, and we are so excited to share them with you. But before we embark on these plans, we want to take a moment to look back and update you on the progress that Simbi Foundation made in 2021.

In what was another challenging year for many — especially for our remote and refugee partnered school communities in Uganda and India — we worked as hard and creatively as we could to learn more from our partnered communities, improve the quality of our educational solutions, and lay a solid foundation for the growth of our impact.

Growing Our Impactful Community

Members of the UNHCR, Yumbe Uganda, narrating books for their corporate Read-A-Thon.

More Read-A-Thons, more change!
In 2021, we received more support from new corporate partners than ever before! By growing and improving our corporate Read-A-Thons — in which employees narrate storybooks on the Simbi Reading Platform and add their voices to a global library accessed by students around the world — we partnered with impact-minded corporations like Salesforce, RBC, Vega and more.

Safesforce, in particular, conducted multiple Read-A-Thons with their global and regional offices, engaging thousands of their employees over the course of 2021. This not only saw Salesforce employees contributing to global literacy by sharing their voices with over 200,000 Simbi readers around the world, but also led to Salesforce funding two BrightBox Micro education kits for installation in the United Nations Bidibidi refugee settlement in Uganda. These installations will bring their employees’ voices and narrations, solar-power systems, and other offline education technology to an estimated 3000 refugee students per week in our partnered communities.

2021: A Solid Foundation for Scalable Impact

Upcoming BrightBox Installations
As a result of generous donors, corporate Read-A-Thon engagements, our talented Think Tank team of researchers, the guidance of partnered communities and logistical partners, and our global and local teams’ hard work, 2022 will see the largest number of BrightBox installations that Simbi Foundation has ever done in a single year. In the first quarter of 2022, Director of Operations Ran Sommer will be travelling to Uganda to work with Simbi Foundation’s Uganda team to support the installation of two BrightBox classrooms and two BrightBox Micros. These installations will run in tandem with our teacher technology training program for our new partnered schools, and also for our existing partnered schools who endured multiple school closures over the course of the year.

Our initial installations will increase the number of learners positively impacted every week from 36,000 to approximately 70,000. Many of these upcoming BrightBox installations have been made possible through the generosity of the Mohammad bin Rashid Global Prosperity Initiative and the Gupta Family Foundation. We are incredibly excited to be embarking on this journey with such impact-driven partners. Six months beyond these installations, we intend to return to Bidibidi once again to install an additional three BrightBox classrooms and two BrightBox Micros.

Simbi Foundation BrightBox (left) and BrightBox Micro (right).

Improving the BrightBox

Updated schematics for BrightBoxes to be implemented in February.

New Features
2021 also saw the growth of both our Canadian and Ugandan teams, bringing even more remarkable talent to Simbi Foundation, and cutting-edge development of sophisticated and impactful features to our BrightBoxes.
Simbi Learn Cloud, our offline curriculum platform and the “heart” of the BrightBox ecosystem, has undergone a massive overhaul and upgrade for enhanced learning support for teachers and students, all in response to community feedback and guidance.

The BrightBox classroom itself also has new-and-improved design features, including a larger roof for increased rainwater collection and shade for outdoor learning. New benches on the outside of the BrightBox classroom will also make the learning space more accommodating. The BrightBox’s solar charging system capacity has also been optimized, enabling a greater number of devices to undergo simultaneous charging, and more surrounding school classrooms to receive wired power connections, supporting even more learners.

The portable BrightBox Micro suitcase learning kit has slightly increased in size in order to provide more learning technology, an improved range-boosting system that helps students and teachers from further away to access the digital learning materials housed within the heart of the kit, and a more robust server system so that more students can connect and learn simultaneously.

Updated interface for Simbi Learn Cloud.

Other Exciting Updates

Indigenous Initiatives
We are proud to announce that Simbi Foundation is officially partnering with First Nations and Indigenous communities in British Columbia to support their language revitalization efforts. Stay tuned for more exciting updates on this project in 2022!

Support in India
We have continued to support our communities in India who are struggling with school closures by supporting teachers in their transportation to students’ homes and using BrightBox technology to enhance remote learning from home.

Impact in the 21st Century
During 2021, we continued producing our very own podcast, “Impact in the 21st Century”. The show aims to share inspiring stories about incredible people who are creating a positive social impact, and to offer insights into how we can all lead more impactful lives in today’s world. The podcast has featured guests including Free Solo Climber Alex Honnold, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, social activist Ndileka Mandela , climate activist David Suzuki, explorer Wade Davis, and many more. Feel free to listen to the conversations on your favourite streaming platform, or right here on our website. Thank you to RBC for sponsoring our podcast.

Thank You

During these difficult times, we are continuously grateful to each and every one of you in our incredible community for your ongoing support in helping Simbi Foundation provide more students with enhanced access to quality and relevant education. Thank you so much for joining us on this journey and helping provide access to the educational resources of the 21st century to some of the most underserved remote and refugee students in the world. We look forward to keeping you updated on this impactful year ahead!

Wishing you a healthy and happy start to your 2022!

Much Love,

Aaron & Ran




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