Far-reaching partnership launched to bridge the digital divide for learners in KZN

Share this...

Upskilling the country’s youth is key to future success and an area that requires urgent input is digital transformation. As part of a joint commitment to growing an inclusive economy, Webhelp South Africa, Think Human Foundation, Share Think Human and Save the Children have partnered on a ground-breaking digital transformation initiative launched in Umlazi on Thursday, 9 February.

With the world moving into the 4th Industrial Revolution, 21st-century skills are critical for future success. Unfortunately, many children do not have access to the necessary training required to keep up with this shift. As a result, this three-year philanthropic project will equip 550 students and 10 teachers from Zwelihle Secondary School in Umlazi with digital literacy skills that are aligned with the school curriculum. Learners will enjoy access to technological training that upskill them for tertiary education, vocational training, and employment.

Beyond this, Webhelp and Save the Children will also develop students’ social and emotional skills through study and revision sessions, to support them to be more marketable to the world of work. Financial literacy guidance and assistance with tertiary applications will be provided, as well as connections made with tertiary and vocational training, bursary platforms, career exhibitions and other job opportunities.

Cathy Kalamaras, Webhelp’s People Director in South Africa commented: “We’re pleased to be able to offer support to Save the Children South Africa, alongside Think Human Foundation and Share Think Human. We believe that the partnership we’re embarking on to deliver digital literacy, and social and emotional training to township school children in KZN is critically important to positively impact the education and future of these young learners. We are incredibly excited about what we can achieve together, which we hope will have a profound effect on every learner we touch having a brighter future.”

To ensure holistic technological understanding, and to maintain the momentum after the project, teachers at the school will also receive training to support digital learning. Additionally, the school will be assigned a dedicated facilitator and project manager to oversee stakeholder engagement and support, including social and emotional learning, resilience training, CV writing assistance and interview tips, as well as project implementation and reporting.

Save the Children is a movement fighting for children’s rights locally and around the world. We work every day to give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. As part of Save the Children’s education focus, Save the Children has implemented an advocacy project called Bridging the Gap. This project improves skills-based education for primary and high school learners. This collaboration will advance these aims by bridging the digital divide and creating opportunities for learners in disadvantaged township schools.

Eric Mahlo, the Education Thematic Manager at Save the Children South Africa commented: “At Save the Children, our goal is to create a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation. This is only possible through strong partnerships like these. Our hope is that this initiative will make a significant impact in the lives of Zwelihle Secondary School’s Grade 10 to 12 learners.”

Principal of Zwelihle Secondary School, Mr WB Zungu, said: “We are so happy to be part of the Save the Children project and are looking forward to working with the organisation from this year. I’m sure that this is going to be a beneficial partnership that helps our learners, our teachers, and our community at large. We are so looking forward to the launch of the project this year.”

Based in Umhlanga Ridgeside, Webhelp’s Durban site is a massive contributor to job creation in the area. Webhelp focuses on inclusive growth and economic empowerment of those from disadvantaged backgrounds as part of its inclusive hiring  model. In addition to its digital transformation programme, the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) company is involved in various community upliftment programmes. Among them are The More Movement, Webhelp’s Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy that aims to make ‘business more human’ through inclusive and sustainable growth. There’s also the Columba Learnership Programme supported by Webhelp South Africa which offers values-based leadership programmes for Grade 10 to 12 pupils, teachers and principals in economically disadvantaged communities.