It was a proud and nostalgic moment for a group of Mfuleni women this week after they received their certificates for participating in the City’s Digital Literacy Programme. The women had initially approached the City to be included in the programme that is being run at their local library.
Most of the women participating in the programme had not even laid hands on a computer previously. The English medium of instruction was also a barrier as the women are isiXhosa and speak very little English, if at all.
Andre Ford, a Senior Project Administrator, says the challenge was to tailor-make a programme that catered specifically for the women. Importantly, it had to empower them with basic digital literacy skills to give them a sense of confidence and pride.
“It was a great opportunity to tailor the content to suit the needs of quite literally each woman on the programme. We are pleased that they found it fairly simple to follow. We have learnt along the way that IT cannot be a one size fits all solution. This was the only way to make the training as inclusive as possible and ensure that the residents find value in the programme.” Ford said.
The group of women were incredibly self-motivated and committed, and did not want to miss out on the opportunity to be a part of the digital revolution. Three groups of ten participants each were trained in basic computer skills over a three-week period.
The Mayoral Committee Member for Corporate Services Raelene Arendse had high praise for the women.
“This group of phenomenal women has proven that one is never too old to learn a new skill. I applaud the women of Mfuleni for taking this bold step to enter the digital space, which is unfamiliar to them, and for staying the course to complete the programme. Developing their digital skills will help not only to improve their access to technology but will also open doors to future entrepreneurial or employment opportunities.”
The women had even more help in Busisiwe Mrataza, who completed the programme during the first intake of participants. She volunteered her time to teach the enthusiastic women the basics of computer literacy while she was searching for employment. Busisiwe also played a critical role in translating the programme instructions into isiXhosa to make it easier for the women to follow.
The women are now able to compile a CV for themselves, and they are all ready to grab the opportunities that this brings.
Councillor Arendse says the women should serve as a source of inspiration to their peers in the community and to other women.
“I tip my hat to them for their enthusiasm to become digitally literate and have asked them to go out and encourage more women to join the Digital Literacy Programme as this will help to open doors for them. We encourage young and old residents and community organisations to make use of these excellent learning opportunities.”
Liesl Smit – Senior Reporter and Anchor, Smile 90.4FM News