Viasat employees teaching digital literacy in rural Mexico

Volunteer opportunity provides direct support to global organizations in need

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Viasat employees pose for a photo after PYSDEH members welcomed them with a traditional ceremony.

In rural Hidalgo, Mexico deep in the Sierra Madre mountains is a community rich in indigenous culture, and biological and linguistic diversity, but largely disconnected from the rest of the world. Earlier this year, Viasat donated internet services, solar units, and more than 40 laptops to PSYDEH [see-day], a nongovernmental organization working to educate and empower marginalized indigenous women to lead social change in the region.

With the boost that comes from Viasat’s technology, PSYDEH can better execute its mission, but the equipment is ineffective unless people know how to use it properly.

That’s where Viasat employees come in.

A team of 12 employees are currently immersed in a 10-week project focused on digital literacy and IT systems support for the PSYDEH staff. The project culminated in a 10-day implementation phase in Hidalgo.

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Viasat employees Juan Ojeda and Nacho Cardozo plan a digital literacy training while on the bus to PSYDEH.

One of the volunteers who went there is Jorge Jimenez, a data center engineer in the Tempe office.

“So far, the most rewarding part of working with PSYDEH is seeing how passionate and committed they are to organizing and sustainably developing the areas in which they live,” Jorge said. “I look forward to partnering with them in person and doing meaningful work to connect these underserved indigenous communities.”

Chelsea Cantoran, a talent acquisition recruiter in Carlsbad, looked forward to sharing her technical knowledge to help PSYDEH grow.

“I’ve learned a lot about how Viasat can give back in an impactful way by bringing technology to a space that it has never been,” said Chelsea. “I am excited to meet the PSYDEH field team and share my knowledge to help elevate their current technical skills and leave behind tools to help them grow personally and professionally.”

The social impact of satellite internet

Satellite internet reaches beyond urban areas, to remote regions other internet services can’t access, creating new economic and educational opportunities for businesses and communities.

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Viasat employees Kory Barri and Renee Houston-Lang test internet speeds at one of PSYDEH’s sites.

According to PSYDEH, the root cause of poverty and of growing social and economic inequality in Mexico is that citizens are unaware of what is possible – their civic responsibilities, inherent abilities, and opportunity for economic and political rights-based collaborations. These possibilities become reality with internet access at their fingertips.

This volunteer opportunity is part of Viasat’s new skills-based volunteering program. It offers several opportunities to get involved, including virtually mentoring students worldwide — and more projects are on the horizon.

“We’re investing deeply in transformative impact with our community partners around the world,” said Viasat’s social impact program manager Mark Moravits. “We’ve provided the technology, but we’d be leaving them hanging if we didn’t equip them with the skills needed to use tools they’ve never had access to.

“The expertise and skills of our employees are as important as the internet we donate, and our employees can achieve incredible outcomes on behalf of Viasat while developing real-time leadership skills.”

Aly is Viasat’s internal communications manager.