Incubating education at a rural South African school

Wipro Ltd, a global information technology, consulting and outsourcing company, has launched a Computer Learning Incubator and a library at the Gobandlovu Primary School, located in Esikhawini in KwaZulu-Natal. The Gobandlovu Primary School is among those that lack both a library and basic computer equipment with internet access. To address this need, Wipro established a Computer Learning Incubator (CLI), a facility that provides PCs and internet connectivity to the students. The CLI can be utilised by the local community like an internet café. The construction of the centre was enabled by Breadline Africa and funded by Wipro.

Left to right: Mrs Manyathi - Principal of Gobandlovu Primary School, Mr. V. K. Sharma, High Commissioner of India,  Sonila Deshpande from Wipro, Jade Orgill from Breadline, Nokulunga Lungi
Left to right: Mrs Manyathi – Principal of Gobandlovu Primary School, Mr. V. K. Sharma, High Commissioner of India, Sonila Deshpande from Wipro, Jade Orgill from Breadline, Nokulunga Lungi

Breadline Africa renovates disused shipping containers and recycles them for essential community purposes. Since their establishment in 1993, they have provided over 190 containers to poverty stricken communities. For the past four years, the Cape Town based NGO has worked with the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory to place container libraries in each of the nine provinces. To date, 39 library containers have been placed in schools across the country.

Studying and teaching
The findings of an annual national assessment report on junior education shows that the national average performance in literacy stands at 35 per cent among grade three pupils and at 28 per cent for grade six. In addition to the CLI, Wipro stepped forward and fashioned a library from a refurbished shipping container, housing over 5,000 educational books and training materials for the students and teachers. This initiative aligns with the South African government’s vision to increase access to essential resources for an enriched education.
Shailendra Singh, business director, Africa region at Wipro, said, “We believe that a successful business should assume responsibility to give back to the society. At Wipro, we are planning many such initiatives to promote education and facilitate self-sustaining enterprises in the local community.“
Nokulunga Lungi, a resident of Johannesburg, has been selected to manage the operations of Gobandlovu School initiative, and has been trained by Wipro in end user computing and general business principles and acumen. In the first year, Wipro will bear her salary along with all the operational expenses of this initiative with the vision of growing this enterprise into a self-sustaining entity.

Explaining the significance of this initiative to the local community, Nokulunga Lungi said, “This is a wonderful opportunity to help people in the Esikhawini area. Having access to computers and to the internet will make a huge difference to our lives. I’m very pleased to be part of this initiative, and look forward to learning how to build a business with Wipro’s support.”

Left to right: Mr. V. K. Sharma, High Commissioner of India,  Shilpa Yohannan from Wipro, Mrs Manyathi - Principal of Gobandlovu Primary School, Nokulunga Lungi, Jade Orgill from Breadline
Left to right: Mr. V. K. Sharma, High Commissioner of India, Shilpa Yohannan from Wipro, Mrs Manyathi – Principal of Gobandlovu Primary School, Nokulunga Lungi, Jade Orgill from Breadline

“Literacy and the right to education is a human right,” Director of Breadline Africa, Tim Smith said of the initiative. “Libraries help foster a love of reading and provide a world of opportunity to children. Through the generosity of companies like Wipro, the initiative has reached more than 30,000 children, many of whom are entering the world of reading for the first time.”
Wipro is committed to being an involved participant in its communities and the larger society. Since the beginning of the last decade, Wipro has unveiled several initiatives targeted at helping address issues dogging India’s education system. A key initiative, Wipro’s Applying Thought in Schools aims to improve the quality of school education. Mission10x is another programme wherein the company works with college teachers to enhance employability skills of engineering graduates in India. Wipro has also launched fellowship programmes in the US to improve the performance of students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

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