The Village Scribe Association (VSA) developed a social development programme that helps underprivileged learners in South Africa to enhance their computer literacy along with their reading&writing skills and project work ability.
We train learners how to use computers and the Internet by working on hands-on projects on the awarenet platform (http://awarenet.eu), a social learning network, especially designed to meet their needs. There are currently about 10 schools in Grahamstown (Eastern Cape) involved. We are working on connecting them with German learners in Saxony, Germany, via the awarenet platform, so that they will eventually collaborate on projects.
The vast majority of learners leaving school in South Africa stay unemployed due to poor education. Although many schools have computer facilities, they often stay unused for various reasons, e.g. teachers are not trained to teach computer literacy and the computers are often not connected to the Internet.
We believe that the ability to use computers and the Internet as well as good reading&writing skills are essential for success after school. Young people with such abilities have a better chance in life. So, we developed awarenet, which is designed to teach the learners how to present oneself in the Internet, how to connect and communicate, how to blog and take part in forum discussions, how to use different media such as pictures, slideshows and videos and much more. awarenet also functions when offline (more info: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iZ7f0BsWeU).
awarenet is a tool for project collaboration and communication between learners (and teachers). Our trainers see the learners on a weekly basis to work with them on the various projects, e.g. science, health, music and other projects. We are a small NGO with a small budget, so we only have one full-time trainer. Since last year though, we are a partner in the Weltwaerts-Programme of the German government. Each year, two German volunteers are chosen by the SAGE Net. exchange organisation (http://www.awarenet.org/category/partners/sage-net-partners/) and are sent to us, the South African host organisation.
The volunteers assist our trainers, train learners and eventually develop their own projects. They get involved in their very special and unique way and bring a lot of motivation with them. The South African learners appreciate this foreign input immensely and learn a lot from this collaboration and exchange. We call it a wonderful win-win situation!
Volunteers' work is gratis, but volunteers do need to eat and sleep somewhere, they need an insurance and a flight ticket, so they do come with a cost for our organisation. The VSA needs to put in 4000 Euros per year to cover the costs of two volunteers.
We need your help to be able to finance this volunteer programme. If you think this is a great programme, which benefits the South African learners as well as the young Germans, please donate! Thank you!