Cape Town-based, black-owned IT start-up, Sompisi IT Solutions, has embarked on an initiative to gather resources to provide high school learners in disadvantaged Cape Town communities with much-needed computer classes.
“Pay IT Forward is a Sompisi IT Solutions vehicle with which to get basic computer equipment into under-resourced schools and to raise the funds to support either past Sompisi IT Solutions interns or unemployed youth who have IT skills to provide the students with computer classes,” says Wendy Mbele, Sompisi IT Solutions’ Managing Director.
Having grown up in Khayelitsha, without much exposure to basic computer equipment or training, Mbele has since overcome a number of academic and financial obstacles to be spearheading a successful IT start-up. Even so, she has never lost sight of her early days and hopes, with the help of others, to use her success to give other young students the IT jump-start they need to be able to be both competent and confident IT users in their chosen careers.
“We’re targeting all grades at under-resourced Cape Town high schools with the Pay IT Forward initiative, because high school learners need to find employment after Matric or be equipped to manage their tertiary studies. Just applying for a job or entry to college or university requires having and using an email address and being adept at using online forms,” says Mbele, adding, “Some schools have very few computers, others have very outdated technology and some have none at all, which means that many high school leavers have little to no experience using basic computer technology.”
“Government has tried initiating ICT projects and these have gone a long way in addressing the IT skills shortage among high school learners, but for maximum, sustainable impact, this cannot be done alone,” remarks Mbele. “This is why it’s time to collaborate. Technology is not a privilege to be accessed only by the lucky few. It connects people with life-changing opportunities, it’s a gateway to learning outside of the classroom environment and a way for skilled people to make their own opportunities,” she says.
“Sompisi IT Solutions’ Pay IT Forward will be an ongoing project as long as people are willing to support, volunteer and help resource the initiative. Anybody can help by donating old computer equipment or recycling old and broken electronics with one of our supporters. Donors can either call us to collect their unwanted computer equipment or they can leave their goods at a local drop-off zone, which will be confirmed via our social media. The initiative also accepts financial contributions,” says Mbele, concluding, “We all know we cannot make a significant social impact alone, so this is our call to individuals, businesses and organisations, with any interest in seeing Cape Town’s underprivileged youth equipped with the computer skills they need to function in a study or work environment, to come forward and make a difference in any way they can.”
To make a financial contribution to Sompisi IT Solutions’ Pay IT Forward initiative, please make use of the following account information:
Bank: Investec Bank
Account name: Sompisi IT Solutions
Account Number: 10011734243
Ref number: #AccelerateIT
Email POP to: firstname.lastname@example.org