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MTN SA Foundation provides tech tools to Vumanisabelo Centre to help drive skills development for youth with disabilities

A hi-tech 20-seater multimedia centre was handed over to the Vumanisabelo Centre NPO in Newcastle by MTN Foundation today, forming part of MTN’s broader commitment to help improve conditions for children and school leavers with special needs.

During the ceremony, which was attended by Deputy Minister of Social Development Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, it was highlighted that access to digital solutions will help build new pathways and create exciting growth opportunities for school leavers who are struggling to find jobs.

Vumanisabelo has the important task of giving hope so that children and young adults in the community do not turn to a life of drugs or crime due to the lack of opportunities available to them. The centre develops entrepreneurial skills and business opportunities for disabled youth within the broader AmaJuba District.

What makes the centre particularly remarkable is that it sustains itself through selling of sewing garments like clothing and curtains, as well as fresh vegetable products. These are marketed in local schools, churches and at other NPOs.

“We are taking the MTN SA Foundation's support for people with special needs a step further via this initiative. There is clearly a serious gap in the support received for children with disabilities, and we believe that the power of technology can be harnessed for good to change futures. This can create much-needed economic opportunities and growth within the special needs community,” says Kusile Mtunzi-Hairwadzi, General Manager of the MTN SA Foundation.

“As we continue to broaden access to technology and solutions for more youth, we are extremely pleased that the multimedia centre will also be shared with learners from the Vumanisabelo Special School,” she says.

The multimedia centre is equipped with the following modern tools to ensure teachers, students and the community benefit from the joys and opportunities of the modern, connected world:

  • Fully refurbished classroom;
  • Twenty workstations (each with a keyboard and mouse);
  • A teacher station;
  • Interactive whiteboard with accessories (wand and pen);
  • Data projector;
  • A multipurpose printer;
  • Office 365;
  • Digitised educational content;
  • Anti-virus protection;
  • 30GB of data per month for 24 months; and
  • Training on the equipment for a minimum of 20 staff members.

The MTN SA Foundation’s highly successful flagship Schools Connectivity Programme was initially aimed at supporting 350 disadvantaged schools over a 10-year period. However, in recent years, the foundation identified a gap in the special needs learning environment. In a bid to contribute to inclusivity in education, the MTN SA Foundation partnered with the Department of Education and the Department of Social Development to extend the ICT programme to special schools.

To date, a total of 36 special needs schools have been connected with custom multimedia centres, benefiting more than 5 000 learners with special needs. These schools are based in all nine provinces of South Africa.

“At MTN, we believe that everyone is entitled to a modern, connected life. The ongoing roll-out of multimedia centres and support provided to special needs students means that they too are able to tap into the digital world, and work towards becoming productive members of the SA economy,” concludes Mtunzi-Hairwadzi.

MTN GROUP

Launched in 1994, the MTN Group is a leading emerging markets operator with a clear vision to lead the delivery of a bold new digital world to our 240 million customers in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East. We are inspired by our belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life. The MTN Group is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa under the share code “MTN”. We are pursuing our BRIGHT strategy with a major focus on growth in data, fintech and digital businesses.

Visit us at www.mtn.com or www.mtn.co.za

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