A shipping container turned solar-powered digital classroom.
A digital classroom for a whole school community.
The BrightBox Macro is a remote, free-standing, solar-powered learning lab repurposed from a shipping container.
Placed in the grounds of an existing school, the macro provides access to literacy resources for a community of 6,000 simultaneous learners through a localised, relevant curriculum Intranet which can be accessed from anywhere in the school.
It also creates a hub for generation of power which can distributed to the surround school blocks, elevating their capacity. Find out more below!
simultaneous learners served
classroom blocks powered
water catchment system
How it works.
Solar power, innovative learning technology, electricity for a community.
The BrightBox Macro includes the Raspberry Pi Microcomputer loaded with the Simbi Learn Cloud curriculum and Simbi Offline, Chromebook laptops, a projector and screen, and specially- designed desks and benches to maximize the space for learning.
Once installed, the BrightBox Macro acts as a micro-grid for a whole school community, allowing clean energy to be distributed to surrounding school classrooms to power lighting and projectors.
The BrightBox Macro is fitted with a unique roof for optimal water catchment and solar power generation.
A scalable solution.
The power of the BrightBox Macro is optimized through its strategic placement within the grounds of an existing school, enabling the transmission of generated solar power to the surrounding classroom blocks, supplying them with electricity for lighting and projector use.
Also housing a device-charging service, community members plug into the BrightBox Macro, charge a device at a nominal cost, generating revenue for the community and ensuring community ownership and project sustainability.
Take A Virtual Tour!
BrightBoxes are powered directly and solely by the sun, allowing us to sustainably power our education technology while providing communities with a power source.
Tablets and Laptops
Our digital labs include laptops tablet projectors and impactful educational software all of which enhance existing classroom spaces and supporters local teachers.
Simbi Learn Cloud is a digital curriculum platform of quality educational resources tailored to the relevant National Curriculum, and can be accessed from a 2.7km Intranet radius.
The Macro doubles as a charging hub for local healthcare workers and community members to charge devices.
BrightBox Macros offer a source of revenue generation, ensuring community ownership and project sustainability.
The unique shape of the Macro roof allows us to collect and store rainwater for students and the local community.
A Foundation for Growth.
BrightBox Macros lay the foundation for other organizations, initiatives, and ecosystems to flourish in challenging contexts.
Find out more about how women’s healthcare NGO CRADLE leverage the BrightBox Macro to further their work in Bidibidi, and their goals of improving global women’s health through innovative research.
Click below to learn more about the Simbi Foundation Bike Share initiatve, a stand-alone or BrightBox-integrated transportation service that helps students get to school without facing a long walk.
Learn more about our BrightBox.
Interested in sponsoring our next BrightBox Macro in Uganda or India? Click below to find out how you can contribute
What is a BrightBox?
BrightBox refers to one of two pieces of Simbi Foundation education technology:
A BrightBox Macro is a shipping-container solar-powered classroom.
A BrightBox Micro is a suitcase-sized education kit.
Both are stocked with educational hardware (laptops, reading tablets, and projectors), and with digital educational curriculum designed to support and supplement the National Ugandan curriculum and the National Indian curriculum.
BrightBox Macros are mostly sourced within the country of implementation in order to improve sustainability, are outfitted by local companies and vocational schools, and most importantly, are used, maintained, and owned by the local community.
How do we fund our projects?
We at Simbi Foundation use multiple methods for compiling funding for our projects. We host public fundraising events, we conduct other fundraising through Expeditions and the BMO Vancouver Marathon, we gratefully receive donations from our supporters, and we apply to granting opportunities to support our ongoing costs.
Want to find out more? Read our blog post about how an NGO makes money!
How do you choose the communities you partner with?
The process we use to partner with communities varies from community to community. In Refugee Settlements in Uganda, we select partner schools in consultation with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), who identify priority schools most in need of support. These identifications are based wholly on community needs.
For remote communities, we engage in a collaborative conversation with any high-population school that faces challenges related to lack of textbooks, other school resources, and internet and technology access. This time of discussion identifies the necessary administrative and operational systems of the school, the school’s ability to take on Simbi Foundation technology, and the optimal ways in which we can adapt our solutions to best meet the school’s needs and requests.
How much control do partner communities have over the projects implemented?
Our partner school communities have direct control over implemented Simbi Foundation projects. Every one of our programs begins with Simbi Foundation-directed needs assessments, focus groups, community discussions, and feedback and request collection. This data then directly informs our program design, and what we include in our solar-powered learning labs.
We also ensure that teachers and other school community leaders receive in-depth training sessions on how to use the Simbi Foundation technology, how to integrate it into their existing teaching goals and learning outcomes, and how to maintain and troubleshoot it. Why? Because it allows the community to have lasting control over the infrastructure without need for constant external direction.
Why Simbi 'Foundation'?
Simbi Foundation is not a private family foundation, but rather an impact-driven organization that enhances access to education for remote, refugee, and under-served learners. We are Simbi ‘Foundation’ because we provide the foundational infrastructure, technology, and training required to give any learner, anywhere, lasting access to high-quality, relevant educational material.