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SA

ORT SA drive to connect the unconnected

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OWN CORRESPONDENT

“Lack of infrastructure and connectivity, along with lack of resources, including devices like smart phones, tablets, or laptops, is widening the gap between privileged and less privileged communities,” says Ariellah Rosenberg, the chief executive of ORT SA.

“The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown highlighted the fact that South Africa is far from ready for online learning, especially township and rural schools. It’s estimated that just 10% of South African households have direct access to the internet.”

Arthur Goldstuck, the founder of World Wide Worx, says the lockdown has highlighted the need for connectivity for all. Goldstuck was named ORT SA’s honorary IT ambassador in 2019.

“Almost 4 000 teachers and pupils have attended ORT SA coding clubs, and we must by all means try to continue these clubs through remote, online learning,” says Rosenberg. “More than 1 000 youth are in ORT skills-development programmes and some are learning digital skills through IT bridging courses. Our mission is to help make people employable while creating employment opportunities.”

ORT SA is also partnering with Computerlab which, together with Hewlett-Packard and other partners, is tapping into expertise to repair devices, install software, and sort out licensing.

Monetary donations can be made at www.ortsa.org.za/donations. Those who wish to donate digital devices can call Nelly at 011 728 7154, or email nelly@ortsa.org.za to arrange a drop off.

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