by TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG – MORE than 5 000 South African learners with special needs have been equipped with technology skills under a programme run by a mobile network operator.
These learners are from 36 special needs schools the MTN Foundation has connected with customed multimedia centres across all nine provinces.
The latest beneficiary is the Vumanisabelo Centre in Newcastle in the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province.
It has received a high-tech 20-seater multimedia centre forming part of MTN’s broader commitment to help improve conditions for children and school leavers with special needs.
Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, the Deputy Minister of Social Development, attended the handover.
She highlighted that access to digital solutions would help build new pathways and create exciting growth opportunities for school leavers who struggle to find jobs.
Vumanisabelo develops entrepreneurial skills and business opportunities for disabled youth within the broader AmaJuba District.
It sustains itself through selling of sewing garments like clothing and curtains, as well as fresh vegetable products.
These are marketed in local schools, churches and at other non-profit organisations.
The multimedia centre is equipped with fully refurbished classroom, 20
workstations, teacher station, interactive whiteboard with accessories, data projector, multipurpose printer, Office 365, digitised educational content, antivirus protection, 30 GB of data per month for 24 months and training on the equipment for a minimum of 20 staff members.
The MTN SA Foundation’s flagship Schools Connectivity Programme was initially aimed at supporting 350 disadvantaged schools over a ten-year period.
“The ongoing rollout of multimedia centres and support provided to special needs students means that they too are able to tap into the digital world, and work towards becoming productive members of the SA economy,” Kusile Mtunzi-Hairwadzi, General Manager of the MTN SA Foundation, said.
– CAJ News