A young Indian boy named Durgesh enthusiastically showed his friends how to “copy and paste” on an outdated version of Microsoft Word after gaining the knowledge through Dmitry Kogan, an economics and sociology major at UC Santa Cruz. Teaching the “copy and paste” feature was one of Kogan’s greatest accomplishments during his volunteer trip to New Delhi, India — not to mention his students’ favorite lesson.
“They get so excited for simple things like copy and paste,” Kogan said. “It was one of the easiest things to them.”
Kogan is a fellow in the GIIP program, now a minor in the sociology department that instructs its students how to apply information and communication technology skills when working for a nongovernmental organization (NGO) or a nonprofit organization.
Apart from attending the local university in New Delhi through the Education Abroad Program (EAP), Kogan volunteered with Butterflies, an NGO in Old Delhi that provides street children with education and support programs. Using his experience and knowledge from GIIP, he taught a basic computer class to children from Butterflies for four months.
Kogan shared his experiences of India, GIIP, and Butterflies with City on a Hill Press.
CHP: Why did you choose to go to India?
I knew I wanted to go somewhere abroad, as an overall experience.
Paul Lubeck, the GIIP director, recommended I go to India because it was the largest English-speaking population in the world and had the reputation of a technological hub. I also didn’t know much about India and so I knew going to India would be a great learning experience.
CHP: What did the children do at the homeless shelter?
There were two sections of the homeless shelter: an English class and a computer class. I attempted to run the computer class. The kids also ate, played, and went to sleep there. The shelter provided a lot of extracurricular activities such as organized soccer games and a chance to participate in the local student-run government. They would make decisions on how to spend the money or invest money they made on the streets.
CHP: What was the best part about your experience?
Seeing the children learn and then disperse the information to their friends was amazing. I would teach two kids a lesson and the next day the all the children in the shelter knew how to do it. I also liked how interactive they were, and how they were always eager to learn. Every time I taught them something they would respond in Hindu, “Show me something more.”