This post was written by Willa Black, Director of Corporate Affairs for Cisco Canada, and was originally published on the Huffington Post.
The territory of Nunavut, Canada is incredibly cold and remote. It’s roughly a four-hour plane ride north of Toronto, with temperatures well below the freezing mark for eight months of the year, dark in the winter months and light all summer long. The communities in the north face unprecedented challenges. The school dropout rates average around 75 percent by the time students hit Grade 8. There is high incidence of youth mental health problems and suicide -- the highest in the world. And yet, there is much hope and potential in this corner of our planet. And a deep, rich Inuit culture and tradition that informs us all as Canadians. When Cisco Canada set out to build a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program for Canada, it didn’t take long for us to connect the dots and understand the vital role we could play in bringing much-needed services to our most remote communities.
On April 2, Cisco Canada officially announced Connected North, a program that leverages our core competence in Internet, networking and collaboration solutions. Our first stop in the development of our strategy was Inuit Tapiriit Kunatami — the organization of the Inuit people of Canada. Their direction was clear: Find a way to make the classrooms more exciting. Help to stem the high dropout rates.
Little known to most people, including residents of Houston, Texas, there is a peanut butter cannery here, and it is capable of producing over 1 million jars of peanut butter a year. Thanks to the coordination efforts of Terry Edge, a Cisco Channels Manager, two teams of Cisco employee volunteers produced 12,595 jars -- 21,254 pounds -- of peanut butter this month.
This post was written by guest blogger Tracy Granlund, a project manager with the Networking Academy Student Advocacy Team
Earlier this year, we had the privilege of hosting the 19 winners from the 2013 Cisco Networking Academy International NetRiders competitions on a week-long study trip to Cisco’s headquarters in San Jose, California.
What is NetRiders? These competitions are open to students currently or recently enrolled in a Cisco Networking Academy course. Through them, students learn valuable networking and IT skills through a series of online exams and simulation activities.
During the week-long study trip, some of the winners shared their thoughts on Cisco Networking Academy and the NetRiders competitions in the Cisco TV studio.
When you have a regular paycheck, a roof over your head, your health, and a fully stocked refrigerator, it’s easy to focus on other activities of daily living.
But when you lack one or all of these things, your focus is on surviving.
I know all this from first-hand experience. As a child, I helped my mom, who doesn’t speak English, apply for public assistance in times of great family need. I had to research and complete, on behalf of my parents, food, health, and unemployment forms and job applications, translating them from English to Spanish and vice versa. We used buses to go from one agency to the next, and sometimes going back and forth to the same organization. There was no one to point us the right way or direct us around pitfalls, as we worked toward stabilizing our day-to-day lives, and eventual self-sufficiency and economic independence.
As we prepare to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, I am reflecting on so many factors that led to where I am today. My mother grew up in India when the path for most women was not one of higher education and a professional life. Yet, with the support of her family, she pursued an advanced degree and became an internationally acclaimed scientist. At a time when arranged marriages were the standard, she met my father and they wed in a non-traditional “love marriage.” With her quiet strength, she was a pioneer, and her experience and outlook helped shape who I am and the path I have taken.
I, too, had the support of my family to pursue dreams of a college degree and professional career, and to be a wife and mother. But many girls and women are not afforded these opportunities, a lack of access which leads to millions trapped in a cycle of poverty, abuse, and poor health—an inherent inequality—where 66 million girls around the world are not in school, 150 million girls are victims of sexual violence each year, and the number 1 cause of death for girls ages 15 to19 is childbirth.