Philippi school gets warm welcome to the digital world

Zahir Lalla giving a helping hand to a pupil to understand a computer at the Dietrich Moravian Primary School in Phillippi.

Non-profit organisation Lace Up For Change has opened a public computer lab at Dietrich Moravian Primary School in Philippi to help build information and communications technology (ICT) skills and to provide the community’s unemployed youth with a platform to apply for jobs.

The lab, handed over on Thursday August 12, was the result of an effort by Lace Up For Change and technology company Syntell.

The Philippi school has now become a hub of IT for young minds looking to build on their computer skills.

The NPO’s Faizel Jacobs said the plan was to have classes for community members in the evening while the school pupils would use it during the day.

He said they had planned to launch the lab in January but Covid-19 had delayed their plans.

Mr Jacobs said they had decided to adopt the school after they went there to serve breakfast.

“We are here to give hope of a better life. This is a great start for development. People here have never worked on computers. Here is an opportunity for pupils and the community. Here is an opportunity to empower themselves. This is a tool to get work opportunities,” said Mr Jacobs

He added that an employment agency would be coming in to teach interview skills and to draw up CVs.

“The agency will be on hand to help the members of the community to set up curriculum vitaes and help with interview skills. We are not only setting up and looking away. We are bringing a brighter future to this community. We are happy to be here and help the school and the community,” he said.

With burglaries and break-ins at schools a major concern, Mr Jacobs has urged the community to protect what is theirs, emphasising that the future of the lab depended on the community.

Delighted school principal Liesl Fisher said the donation was an early birthday present for the school which would be 70 years old next year.

“There’s been hiccups but the Lord has opened the doors for us now. We are so grateful. Today our kids can sit in front of the computer. They do not have these facilities at home. This is a wonderful pre-birthday gift,” she told Vukani.

She said there were also so many in the community who were unable to use computers but would now be able to learn to do so.

Speaking during the hand-over, Syntell general manager Zahir Lalla said the opening of the lab was in line with their objective to develop and improve the lives of young people.

“I am a strong advocate for the development of young kids. If we miss developing them, we have missed the target. This will be cost-free. Hopefully we can do this every year,” he said.

Lace Up for Change uses sport, marathons, half marathons, cycling, triathlons to facilitate funding. The NGO has a feeding scheme and a school shoe project. To get involved, or for more information, call 082 882 2567.

Dietrich Primary school staff and pupils joined members of the Lace Up for Change to celebrate their new installed computer laboratory last Thursday.
Faizel Jacobs is elated with the achievement of his organisation to better the community of Phillippi.