Intel has launched its third Computer Clubhouse in Phefeni in Orlando West,
Soweto to provide education and training in IT for disadvantaged people,
particularly the youth, in the area. The new facility joins two others which
were established by Intel earlier, the first in Newtown, Johannesburg and the
second in the township of Etwatwa in Ekhureleni.
Established in partnership with a number of major sponsors including Adobe
Systems, Macromedia and Autodesk and special pricing from Hewlett-Packard and
IBM. Datacentrix provided the installation and tech support, has committed to
facilitate training to clubhouse staff. The new Computer Clubhouse features 14
multimedia workstations equipped with Intel's Pentium 4 processors, fully
networked and with access to the Internet. A wide range of software is available
to the users covering more than 30 titles in a number of categories including
animation and multimedia; electronic publishing and graphic design;
three-dimensional design; robotics and science exploration; Web design; computer
programming; and electronic music and video editing. In addition, the Clubhouse
features a fully equipped music and video-editing studio featuring two high-end
server systems, keyboards and sound mixing system, digital video camera and
video editing suite. In addition to its technology donations, Intel has provided
financial backing for the clubhouse over the next four years to enable it to
Says Parthy Chetty, Intel's Education Manager and who has spearheaded the
establishment of the Computer Clubhouses in South Africa, "The Computer
Clubhouse concept is not new. It is based on a learning model developed in the
early 1990s by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab and the
Museum of Science in Boston." The proven track record of success of these
clubhouses in the USA has translated well in the South African context by
fundamentally transforming the lives of the youth in underserved communities.
They provide a safe after-school learning environment where they can work with
adult mentors to explore their interests, develop skills and build confidence
through the use of technology.
Intel also worked in conjunction with the South African Association of Youth
Clubs (SAAYC) in identifying those communities which would benefit the most from
the Computer Clubhouse concept. Established in 1967, the SAAYC provides services
to youth, youth clubs and associations, professionals and youth workers on a
national basis. Its core function is to improve the quality of life of SA youth
by implementing effective programmes and advocating for youth issues.
Says Chetty, "The enthusiasm shown by learners visiting the Clubhouses
is proof of their success in the communities in which they have been
established." By exposing young people in disadvantaged areas to technology
and providing training and education in a relaxed environment, new possibilities
for employment are opened up for them as they master skills that many South
Africans take for granted.
"While the Computer Clubhouse in Soweto represents the last of Intel's
commitment to the project, we have laid a solid foundation based on a proven
learning module," adds Chetty. "We offer other South African companies
that are looking to fund similar programmes access to our model and advice on
setting up their own community-based IT learning facilities."