Free Computer Education in South Africa

'Why is there a free flow of information but there is no flow of free information?' - W. Tita

Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, Youth Action Africa's computer literacy program was an initiative to provide free computer education to select citizens in South Africa. Information is the underlying foundation for any successful democracy because when you deprive people of information, they became vulnerable and have limited growth. Education, therefore, plays the role of sharing information, empowering individuals with necessary tools for growth, independence and optimism.

This program was started in August of 2008, after the outbreak of xenophobia in May 2008 that left over 60 people dead, hundreds injured and many thousands of immigrants displaced or forced to return to their home countries. Authorities sought to identify and address the root cause of this problem. Analysis of the situation indicated that more than half of the participants in this violence were uneducated and unemployed.

In August 2008, under Youth Action Africa, we began offering computer education to women from refugee camps. The courses were held on Saturdays and Sundays for a period of five months from August to December 2008. This program consisted of six modules namely; Introduction to computers, Windows and File Management, Microsoft Word 2003, Microsoft Excel 2003, Microsoft Power Point and Internet and Email. And at the end, participants earned a certificate of completion and also assisted with employment opportunities.

Of the participants that started the program, half completed the required modules for graduation. The half that did not was faced with prohibitive challenges, such as: transportation to and from the program site; family challenges; and pregnancy.

With 50% success rate and increased awareness of our program, we hope to enlist a larger number of participants and relocate to a bigger space with more equipment. We are hereby seeking more donations to better this endeavor.

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