What does this Program do?
The Project objectives are to equip rural and peri-urban schools with networked computer labs (a multi-phase project) or provide access to a mobile computer lab for regular computer lessons. We continuously work on developing appropriate teaching aids and support structures for both teachers and learners to teach basic computer skills in a classroom environment.
The computer literacy curriculum is closely linked to Environmental Education through our innovative & structured teaching modules. Topics covered include My School Environment, Water and Sanitation and the study of indigenous birds and trees amongst other relevant topics.
About the Location
Chintsa is a beach town in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, situated about half way between Cape Town and Durban and approximately 25 miles from East London (the nearest large town). Sitting on the Indian Ocean with a 5.5 mile stretch of white sandy beach Chintsa is a volunteer’s paradise; a great starting point for ongoing trips to the buzzing city of Cape Town and right on the doorstep of the rugged and untouched Wild Coast. Chintsa is a malaria free area.
Although it's a small village, Chintsa has all the essentials: a general store, ATM, local restaurants and bars, public telephones and an internet cafe in the VA32 office. There is a small strip mall approximately 9 miles towards East London where there is a supermarket, post office and pharmacy amongst other necessities. The volunteer house is situated just 3-4 minutes’ walk from the beach and the same distance from the shop and other amenities. A short walk across the beach takes you to fun and funky Buccaneers Backpackers which offers VA32 volunteers a place to relax and spend the weekend as well as discounts on surf schools, free rental of body boards and canoes, use of their swimming pool and the opportunity to take part in free afternoon activities.
Chintsa has a real community feeling that many find irresistible. Buccaneers brings an eclectic mix of travellers and backpackers into the village, Chintsa's permanent residents are a diverse mix of older city dwellers who have moved out to the coast to retire and young travellers who fell in love with the village and have returned to settle here.
About the School
The rural schools of South Africa have found themselves in the restrictive scenario of “equal education” policies in a country consisting of vastly different levels of development. One of the major areas to be overlooked within the education system is that relating to the technology fields.
Computer Literacy, considered in today’s developed societies as a basic human right, is only in its infancy in the Wild Coast region. In the few schools that have electricity, very few have computers, and those that have computers have been left to develop in a vacuum with inappropriate and non-existent support structures for the maximising of the resource potential they have. VA32 is committed to resource schools with computers and put into place the necessary training and continued support for these schools to allow them to produce competitive learners for the demanding technological world of adulthood. It is into this challenging and exciting arena that VA32 is appealing to the international volunteer community to support, through appropriate skill provision, for the attainment of these targets.
The Big Green eMachine
The most recent innovative development to the project is a fully self-sustainable 4x4 mobile computer lab that operates on solar power. It is equipped with 11 laptops and a server. This directly addresses the lack of technology in the extreme rural areas. Furthermore, the mobile lab has proved to be the solution to the lack of space, security risks to assets and the unreliable or nonexistent electricity supply. The “Big Green” allows the Wild Coast Schools Project to expand teaching opportunities, and identifies the potential expansion into adult community classes. All volunteers are given the opportunity to teach in the Big Green eMachine where possible.
A pre-project familiarization and orientation will take place upon arrival in Chintsa. This will involve an introduction to the local area, volunteer routine and house as well as a familiarization chat about life and what to expect in South Africa.
A project specific orientation is also provided before volunteers are placed in the schools. It includes: a project overview, in depth introduction to VA32, introduction to the teaching curriculum, teaching methodology unraveled, lesson preparation, available resources and a day shadowing other volunteers in one of the schools. Orientation is designed to help volunteers to settle into their new environment as quickly as possible and to understand where their energy and enthusiasm can be used best on project.