For my main project I completed a digital storytelling project on low-income black communities, in the rural areas of South Africa. The low-income communities of Johannesburg called townships, in South Africa, are increasingly being affected with pollution from mining corporations, with a particular emphasis on coal mining. Health deterioration is becoming more prevalent in these communities, due to: soil, air and water pollution.
This project created the knowledge base and capability of the Everett Program to digitize survey efforts in partnership with community organizations and research centers. Main achievements include producing the digitized version of a 300 question survey, and training 40 undergraduate students in conducting the survey on tablets, resulting in the collection of 406 surveys over a six-week period.
From July 1, 2015 to September 15, 2015, Lili taught computer literacy courses for the staff members at the Somkhanda Game Reserve. Her ultimate goal was to increase efficiency in the workplace and to equip the staff with skills that their education system didn't provide. The majority had access to education but lacked computer skills. Most of the staff on the reserve were Gumbi tribe members. After several land claims, the Gumbi were able to claim ownership of the land that is now The Somkhanda Game Reserve. They have partnered with African Insight and Wildland's Conservation Trust to manage the reserve.
To address the lack of adequate educational and health resources for Los Angeles foster youth, I worked to build the communications and development capacity for United Friends of the Children that serves approximately 1,700 foster youths. As a result, UFC was able to focus their communications strategy to include long term engagement and awareness that would financially support their programs and serve a greater number of foster youth through their education and housing programs.
Prison Yoga Project (PYP) is fighting for restorative justice by teaching and holding frequent trainings guiding yoga teachers on how to teach in prison. This is a restorative justice program, because it gives Inmate access to coping mechanisms and yoga to heal from past and current traumas, possibly leading to lower recidivism. I am assisting them in creating an online community called the Sangha Portal (Sangha meaning community in Sanskrit) to connect the yoga teachers after the trainings.
Ever since the 1990s, the importance of the Internet has been continuously growing especially in today's highly digitized world. In global cities like San Francisco, the ability to maneuver the Internet also becomes an essential job skill. Since these immigrant workers are lacking such essential job skill, they end up in extremely disadvantaged positions where they have little knowledge on labor rights and job information. To bridge the digital gap and language barriers between SRO immigrant workers and the English speaking digital world and to help them to become more self-empowered, I began the SRO Worker's Empowerment Project, facilitating workshops on tablets and conducting English lessons for participants.
Introducing Computer Literacy to Youth and Non-Governmental Organizations in the Kenneth Gardens Community
This project sought to develop the computer literacy and online presence of the women running two non-profit organizations that directly served the residents of the Kenneth Gardens municipal housing community, as well as developing computer skills and digital archiving skills with Kenneth Gardens youth.
Gumbi Tribe Conservation and Development Through Wildlife Preservation at the Somkhanda Game Reserve
The Somkhanda Game Reserve is owned by the Emvokweni Community Trust who represent claimants to the land who were once forcibly removed because of apartheid. The Emvokweni community trust is made up of people who were from the Gumbi Tribe and has been established to promote the development of the Gumbi tribe by using the land for the benefit of the entire community.
The social problem I worked on is the lack of autonomy elderly face when their lives become institutionalized within a nursing home/assisted living facility. In these settings, residents are living under strict schedules and regulations where their days are predetermined by a routine. This repetitive lifestyle dictates control over the residents’ transportation, food, activities and visitors, resulting in increased dependency, isolation and depression. Nursing homes provide basic security, but fail to address the psychological needs that coexist with physical health and this only adds onto the initial reasons they must be at nursing homes/assisted living facilities.
Helen Toloza conducted a series of information communication technology summer classes at the Hope for Homeless Youth computer center, located in South Central Los Angeles. The classes were directed towards the staff, the homeless youth living in the transitional house, and the local adult community.