”June 16” which is warmly known as Youth Day in South Africa is fast approaching. It is also commemorated in most parts of the world. Although it is famously known as The Day of The African Child by the rest of the world that commemorate it, since 1991. The day honours those who participated in the Soweto Uprising in 1976 on the day. It also raises awareness of the continuing need for improvement of the education provided to African children.
This years theme for the international holiday is “Accelerating Collective Efforts To End Child Marriage In Africa”. Much progress has been made on child marriage but so much more needs to be done. It is only by working together that we will end child marriage once and for all in Africa.
Vargatex is rooting for the success of the people around Africa that are making efforts to end child marriage by making sure that many underprivileged children, especially girl-children, are accessing education outside the four walls of schools.
For instance child marriage would be curbed sooner if companies made it part of their CSI to not only give out money, clothes, blankets and food but rather gave back in constructive ways to remote villages by giving each child an Android tablet that has the LightBulb Application to ensure that illiterate kids with no previous exposure to written words can learn all by themselves by experimenting with tablets and preloaded alphabet-training games, e-books, comics and other programmes.
In developing communities it is understood that there are three structural issues that prevent a girl access education: her gender, her geographic stance and her family’s economic condition. Needless to say, there are deep-rooted stigmas against girls education along with the heavy burden of school fees cost therefore building a strong blockade to education. Hence the frightening rise in child marriage, sex trafficking and forced prostitution become alternatives to going to school and being empowered. These substitutes to schooling leave our continent ensnared in webs of gender based violence, economic paralysis and ill health.
For so many girls around Africa, attending school remains a distant dream that is unattainable. As Vargatex we understand just what women’s education holds for the lives of female students who could access the LightBulb Application – and what it offers the world as we know it.
The LightBulb application is an innovative mobile solution that uses the latest technology to achieve a holistic learning experience by integrating information and collaborating it into an organized manner. This application is not only suitable for people that are already learned but rather it is for all people that would like to access education from the comfort of their home, street or even train and so forth. The application has an easy access to supplementary content that is otherwise difficult or expensive for students to acquire. The student material and content is backed up on a centralized server or cloud solution. It also allows for easy and real-time access to a large personalized library.
Most importantly for the African child in a village: she/he will be able to use alternative media forms like video that increase understanding of rather complex material.
If your company is looking to give back in a more constructive and sustainable way then consider investing in the African child, especially the girl-child, by giving out Android tablets that have the LightBulb Application as a means of empowering the continent. This idea has already proved to be a success in Ethiopia where the One Laptop Per Child organisation has identified two remote villages near Addis Ababa by simply dropping off tablet computers with preloaded programs and seeing what happens.
Early observations are encouraging, said Nicholas Negroponte, OLPC’s founder, at MIT Technology Review’s EmTech conference.The devices involved are Motorola Xoom tablets—used together with a solar charging system, which Ethiopian technicians had taught adults in the village to use. Once a week, a technician visits the villages and swaps out memory cards so that researchers can study how the machines were actually used. After several months, the kids in both villages were still heavily engaged in using and recharging the machines, and had been observed reciting the “alphabet song,” and even spelling words. One boy, exposed to literacy games with animal pictures, opened up a paint program and wrote the word “Lion.”
By: Tshwanelo Fokazi