A Mfuleni NGO is beaming with pride after their new computer training centre was launched by technology giant Microsoft last week.
Onyi Nwaneri, chief executive officer of Afrika Tikkun, said the new computers will not only help young Mfuleni youth to access economic opportunities but will also be helpful to residents of the area.
She said most people have skills but do not know how to put them to use.
Through the centre, they will be trained in different programmes.
Afrika Tikkun was founded in 1994 with the goal of making a difference in South Africa by developing and uplifting young people in underprivileged communities. The NGO aims to end child poverty and youth unemployment through a holistic approach that begins in early childhood and ends with productive adults accessing the economy.
Ms Nwaneri described unemployment as a big challenge for those who are in disadvantaged areas. “The face of unemployment is black. To get a job is always about who you know and connections. Microsoft has taken us a long way. They have been good to us.
“ With this, we have a big vision,” she said.
She said their Zolile Malindi Centre of Excellence has been using limited resources for some time now and this has significantly affected the students in their Child and Youth Development and Career Development programmes.
Computers at the centre served more than 3 500 young people between 2011 and 2019.
Director, community development, global database at Microsoft Uttauwa Allen said she was excited that the centre is going to empower young people.
She said a lot of them will now have access to basic resources.
All agreed that as the Fourth Industrial Revolution looms and we head into an uncertain technologically driven future, it’s essential that young people are exposed to as much as possible, and that learning evolves to include digital advancements.
Beneficiary Luzuko Mabhongo was ecstatic to see a new centre that will empower Mfuleni’s young people.
He said he came from the Eastern Cape with no knowledge of computers but he is now better off because of Afrika Tikkun. Mr Mabhongo urged young people to take care of the computers.
Anthony Putorek, senior lead workforce development programme manager at Microsoft, said: “We are living in a world that is underpinned by tech intensity, whereby companies, communities and countries are leveraging digital tools and platforms to build solutions and services to better service the needs of the citizens and customer, but they can only do this if they have a skilled workforce to do so.
“As such, fostering in the development of computer skills in education remains an important aspect of what we believe in. All that we have done to contribute to the development of the Afrika Tikkun computer lab has been a result of our intentions to accelerate the pace of inclusive digital transformation, and thereby deliver on our mission to empower every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more,” he said.