A partnership between youth development foundation, Afrika Tikkun and the Datatec Educational and Technology Foundation, has overcome insurmountable odds resulting in great success in rural education.
This partnership which is dedicated to transformative development and reducing youth unemployment in South Africa by tackling socio-economic barriers which makes it difficult for young people to access the economy, has benefited between 8 000 and 10 000 participants a year.
The decade long relationship includes a contribution of over R3.7 million from Datatec which has helped to upgrade technological capabilities and support infrastructures at the Afrika Tikkun Centres of Excellence, which are vibrant spaces where information relating to education, skills, careers and life is shared.
“Funding from the Datatec Foundation has been crucial to digitising Afrika Tikkun’s various programmes and enabled our beneficiaries to become computer literate and access emails and the internet,” says Afrika Tikkun CEO Alef Meulenberg.
“This small but significant step allows beneficiaries to move away from a mindset that their communities only comprised unemployed and unskilled people, as they were now imbued with the skills to become self-sustaining,” added Meulenberg.
Despite the crippling effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, Afrika Tikkun’s partnership enabled it to reach 16% more young people in 2020 than it did in 2019.
In line with the organisation’s 2020/21 plan to offer programmes through a blended learning approach, a learner management system was purchased through the ‘My Learning Hub’ platform to upload educational content and is being adapted to incorporate a more South African curriculum.
Afrika Tikkun was also able to digitise content for its core programmes including Early Childhood Development (ECD), Child and Youth Development (CYD) and the Youth Accelerator Programme (YAP). Acquisition of learning devices, in particular tablets, is ongoing.
Participants in these programmes are offered a selection of basic computer literacy programmes which ranges from the fundamentals at grade R and primary school level, to the basics of Microsoft Office Suite and research of career, bursary and tertiary opportunities at high school level.
Chairperson of the Datatec Educational and Technology Foundation, Maya Makanjee said the investment in Afrika Tikkun has been rewarding at so many levels.
“To see young people not only rise above their circumstances but excel professionally is exactly what we set out to achieve at the Foundation. By continuing along this path we can overcome our high unemployment rate so that our beautiful country can meet its true potential,” Makanjee says.
Teboho Shibambo moved on to admin and data capturing, and today consults for a car sales portal, Afrika Tikkun, PictureNet Africa and Solve IT while also supporting a number of private companies in and around Johannesburg.
Nkosinathi Lusiba arrived as a curious young man and through the programme learnt how to build LAN, communicate with various ISPs and suppliers and set up servers. Today he is self-employed and consults for the City of Cape Town and various schools.
Another success story is found in Mozambican siblings Jessa and Roberto Miambo.
They learnt how to run cables, crimp and punch cables, build LANs and gained a greater understanding of hardware and software solutions. Jessa is now in Maputo building workshops to help young entrepreneurs in business, while Roberto is head of IT at Niassa local government municipality.