There is a wise quote that says: “Follow your heart and live passion”.
I was born in Grahamstown, the City of Saints. I grew up with a lovely half-a-dozen family (family of six). My father owned a personal computer, which we would explore every day after school. As children at home we would line up and exchange turns at the computer, and I was known to stay the longest and yeah! – they would complain of course. But there was just something I wanted to know, learn and do.
In the year 2009, I joined the awarenet classes at Mary Waters High School, a school that had limited resources and limited staff. How did I come to join awarenet? It was through our local teacher there, Mr G. Accom, a very enthusiastic teacher when it comes to technology and the learning of it. So he told us (the class of 2009) to take this opportunity given by the Village Scribe Association (VSA) and develop our computer skills with the awarenet programme.
We found this proposal favourable to expand our minds and try it. And that’s where I knew Mr Accom was right. I found the classes very interesting, going home after every lesson I would think of our computer at home as outdated because it didn’t have awarenet, and I lost interest in it. And of course you guessed right, I’d be very excited on those given Thursdays to go to school. This was it, what I wanted to know, more about computers and the internet than I could teach myself. I learned about all the awarenet functions. I learned awarenet so quick that I could even help new members and others who were challenged.
Seven years laters having finished my Matric and studied Human Resource Management at East Cape Midlands College Grahamstown, I decided to seek for work experience and guess what? awarenet to the rescue! I applied for an internship at the VSA. One internship that changed my life completely.
I grew up with knowledge of computers and IT. I was now given the opportunity to exercise and to experience the life of giving back! It then came to me that the opportunity of giving back can be offered at the VSA and that is the reason why I started in the beginning: I was born into awarenet, in other words my skills and knowledge became alive. Before, I was not able to use my capabilities due to a lack of opportunities. The VSA gave me a chance to show others how to bring their unused capabilities to life.
At the VSA, I was given the tasks of maintaining the intranet and the computer hardware at the Joza Youth Hub computer lab, to fix small hardware problems and install necessary software. I also looked after the computer labs of our partnering schools.
With growing experience, I was assigned a group of young people to teach and work with in one of the schools nearby, CM Vellem Higher Primary School. I was able to do what I’ve known all my life and learned from awarenet… and give these young people a chance to know, learn and do… and eventually be as I have become, which made me very happy.
Over the years, the VSA has been introducing me to things I’ve never done before like the use of the internet to the maximum, e.g. I would work on shared online calendars, documents, spreadsheets and various apps. I have blogged on WordPress, too. Having to also know how to work on a computer’s black-screen (CMD/Terminal) made me realize how advanced things have accelerated in my learning.
As much as I enjoy working with computers and being handy, working with people has proved to be one of my strengths. In that regard, I would like to mention that the VSA is located at the Joza Youth Hub (JYH) in Grahamstown. This is a place where a number of NGO’s are using the same space and also work together for motivation, education and transformation. Young people are here given the opportunity to do musical lessons, journalism, reading, community outreach and computer literacy. Our organization VSA cooperates with most of the other organizations at the Joza Youth Hub, which I find totally amazing.
I have enjoyed working with my supervisor Kjetil. He has been very supportive of me, pushing me to do my outmost best and being a father figure in the workplace… Don’t even get me started on the volunteers that SAGE Net. sends over every year from Germany – they are motivated, insightful and purpose driven.
Now, that my internship comes to an end and that I have seen what is possible in life, I would like to take the next step. I have applied to join the same exchange program as our German volunteers, the weltwärts exchange program, organised by SAGE Net, which stands for South Africa German Network. And as a South African, I have applied to fly over to Germany for an entire year and explore what awaits me there…
This is of course a life changing opportunity for me, a person who loves travelling but never had the opportunity to and now this one did just knock on my door, but also, I have heard it coming a long way – all thanks to the VSA!