The 10 laptops were donated by Y.P.O, Sean, Rick and the Team, and we are eternally grateful to them, as are the children and staff of Ramlakan Primary. Not only had the school been neglected in government funding, it had also lost students to the larger school some miles away as they had 6 tablets on site. In hope of a better education in technology, something which is now essential in the workplace, children would walk over an hour to reach the alternative school. Now Ramlakan has laptops, more students will be attracted, and hopefully with that it will be put on the map and receive more attention from the government.
The school now has one of the strongest libraries in the area and a huge amount of computers, meaning that they can qualify for a lbrarian-cum-computer teacher who is trained to use softwares which we are hoping to install. This ensures that all the children coming to Ramlakan will make the most of the resources there.
The afternoon was spent with a group of 10 grade 6-7 students, and although there was no wireless network or softwares installed, we introduced ‘Wordpad’ to them. It is difficult to explain what it’s like to see something that has been so familiar all your life become such a mystery to people at the equivalent age. It wasn’t just the students that struggled to use the keyboard and manoeuvre the mouse, the majority of the teachers were at loss as well. We did our best to show the children and the teachers the basics, but it highlighted how imperative a trained computer teacher is to the program.
Most children had never used a laptop before. A lucky one, 16 year old Mthokozisi had used his parents laptop before, and typed out his name, school and favourite football team in bright green to the glee of his friends, who instantly wanted to learn how to do that too.Mthokozisi wants to be an engineer when he’s older, and hopes to join the one alumni of the school to reach tertiary education. We hope that with the laptops, and the use of the books, he and many others will achieve this.
Being a library with so many books, relevant to all ages, we are hoping that it will become a resource for the older children at St Christophers High School as an after school program. This will give them a safe and quiet place away from the streets and the alcohol problem among teens.
This was our last day in Ramlakan. Although brief, the experience was eye-opening, amazing fun and unforgettable. So much has been achieved in the space of two days, and we are only more passionate about continuing this in the future.
We hope to visit the school in a years time to see how the program has been implemented, but judging by the enthusiasm the arrival of the books received, there is no doubt that this will be life-changing.