On 2 and 3 February 2016, myself (Palesa) and two members of the local Intel She Will Connect team (Rula and Valencia) visited the Siyafunda Technology Centre in Cosmo City (in the north-west of Johannesburg). Intel's She Will Connect aims to bridge the gender gap in technology which includes access to the Internet.
Siyafunda is one of She Will Connect's community partners in South Africa who, amongst other activities, run the basic Intel Learn Easy Steps Digital Literacy course for young women (and some men) in a 6 - 8 week programme. Participants are introduced to digital tools from the basic workings of a computer, document processing, improving typing to more advanced topics such as exploring opportunities presented by the Internet.
We spoke to Fanisa Mkansi (21) and Keletso Sebake (21), both of whom had no previous experience with computers. They have graduated in the course this year and are now looking to apply their skills in the real world as well as become facilitators at the centre as part of their WIL (work integrated learning). Both of them expressed that they learnt new skills on a daily basis and that computers enabled them to gain access to information which they didn't have before.
Interestingly some of their fellow graduates have subsequently joined a crime-fighting forensic investigation programme in Pretoria.
You could not find any two people more enthusiastic about computers and Internet, an energy that I hope they will use to further empower themselves and their community through technology.
An award ceremony was held on the next day at S'godiphola Secondary School a few minutes away from the Siyafunda Centre where the high school learners who took part in the Digital Literacy programme previously were given their certificates of participation by the centre's Sam, Mustaf and Millie.
You can find out more about Intel's She Will Connect initiative at shewillconnect.intel.com