A second-year education student, Yumna Alexander, is spending her free time teaching computer skills to unemployed people in Manenberg.
Training takes place twice a week at the local library and the students don’t pay a cent. The City of Cape Town’s Sm@rtCape department supplied the venue, computers and universal serial buses (USBs).
Alexander is a student at the Two Oceans Graduate Institute. One of her subjects is information communication technology.
The reason she started the initiative is because she realised while people are required to apply for jobs online, some have never used a computer before.
“They do not even know they can use their phones to apply for jobs. I try and keep it as simple as possible,” she explains.
Since she studies full-time, she can only conduct classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 09:30 to 12:00.
The first group recently completed their training and she encouraged them to keep practising what she taught them.
She trained them for a month, focusing on Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, email and how to search for jobs online.
She says if people from the area want to be part of the training, they should contact the library.
Nomgqibelo Lisa, senior librarian at Manenberg library, says they’ll never reject anyone who comes forward with a plan to develop and educate the community. The training she offers will come handy, since the City already has a digital literacy programme. Alexander’s training plays a pivotal role in improving residents’ eligibility to be accepted into the City’s programme.
Charlene Champher, a mother of three, is one of the students who completed the training. She has been unemployed for more than two years and says the training has brought some hope that she might get a job. She had never used a computer before the training.
“I learnt there is a difference between a Word and PDF document and that on the PDF people cannot make changes. Yumna also helped me to create an email address. I did not know that you can send an email to someone overseas and they can get it now.”
For Champher, the training goes beyond sitting behind the computer.
She says Alexander is an inspiration for the youth of Manenberg.
“I am very thankful to be given this opportunity. We thank Yumna for facilitating this and empowering us. Maybe some of us can help in the future to facilitate,” she says.
Theresa Jackson, also unemployed, thanks Alexander and the library for making the training happen.
“I have learnt a lot. Yumna is the best. I hope she’ll go far. She just trained us and did not ask for money,” she says.