Learners reap rewards

2017-02-09 06:01
 Quirky 30 founder Sihle Tshabalala with his current crop of computer programming learners at their new home at the LoveLife Centre in Langa.  PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

Quirky 30 founder Sihle Tshabalala with his current crop of computer programming learners at their new home at the LoveLife Centre in Langa. PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

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Brothers for All is an organisation that was founded for the purpose of teaching youngsters in Langa the technicalities of advanced computer literacy.

And three years since its inception, not only is this organisation celebrating a new home, but recently the placement of more than 20 of its students in the workplace.

Sihle Tshabalala launched Quirky 30 as a company that was aligned to Brothers For All to empower the local youth.

In 2016, the NGO was changed to a Non Profit Organisation to be able to give Seta accreditation and offer certificates to learners.

This week they celebrated their new home at the LoveLife Centre in Langa after moving from the much smaller Ikhaya leLanga Centre.

“We needed to get a bigger space as we are looking at training more than 200 learners this year. We have also established a division where we will be providing digital marketing, web development for local NGOs and small enterprises.

We offer these services at a fairly favourable cost, but we still have a strong focus on digital skills training for the young people,” said Tshabalala.

Tshabalala started the organisation after a 11 year stint in jail following a rocky life of crime which led to him being arrested for armed robbery.

There have been 91 learners trained in the programme with more than 20 having found employment while others have gone on to study further in the field.

“Our core aim is to educate the young people in the area because we often say that our young people are lazy and they don’t want to do anything.

But learners have showed that if you give these guys innovation and a purpose they will surprise you.

The first group has done well, add the fact that they have gone on to work in the corporate world,” he said proudly.

Tshabalala noted that although women were in the minority in the technology field, his organisation boast a high number of women learners.

women globally but at his organisation women are the majority.

“It was by happenstance to have mostly ladies as they are the ones that have come forward to learn more about computer programming,” he said.

He said his biggest accomplishment was seeing young people that came to his organisation not knowing anything about programming, but leaving with skills, and become breadwinners in their homes.

“If you are a computer programmer, you are guaranteed a job for the next 50 years, that’s how important it is. While my dream is to see these guys starting their own companies and coming up with solutions for our communities, I’m happy that they are now working,” he said.

One of these learners in the workplace is Sibusiso Gabuza, who was the first learner to join Tshabalala when the organisation began.

Gabuza now works as a web developer for Ogilvy and Mather, one of the largest advertising companies in the country.

He says that he still cannot believe his fortunes, especially after he had failed matric in 2011.

The young man from Langa said that when he was approached by Tshabalala, he had grown tired of looking for work and a school to further his education.

“It has become a life changing experience as I have had many challenges.

This(challenges) meant that I couldn’t get a bursary. I worked for various projects but it was at the training that I found myself,” he said.

Gabuza has become the breadwinner at his home and has excelled at his workplace. “Its a life changing experience and I would like to thank the organisation and urge young people to study technology,” he said.

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