The Telkom Foundation launched the Connected Schools project in 2017, pledging over R200 million over a 5-year period with a focus on using technology to improve the quality of Mathematics, Science and English education in order to open-up opportunities for disadvantaged communities.
SAINC travelled to the Eastern Cape and Gauteng to see some of this work in action and to meet the inspiring students and passionate stakeholders making this opportunity a reality.

BB Beya has first-hand experience of the pressures of being influenced by a bad crowd. But being introduced to the Telkom Foundation Saturday school and coding program has unlocked a whole new world for this computer whiz kid, who has reconnected with his academic inspirations and has his sights set on a very bright future.

Likewise, the same applies to Asemahle, a bright-young spark whose team at school created a bus ticket app as part of their programming course. She lost her mother when she was a young girl and stays with her granny, who is a former Science and Physics teacher.

The program provides fully connected labs and device access, equipping educators to better empower their learners, and allowing learners to become skilled to operate in a technological world and receive the social support needed for their holistic personal development. A key attribute is building resilience.
Telkom Foundation also provides access to bursaries to ensure that those opportunities are accessed and optimised to the fullest; helping to facilitate the emergence of a new and powerful generation of South African innovation.

these opportunities break generational poverty.

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The Stories

Short Story 1: BB Beya

BB Beya’s youth was one filled with a lot of pressure. Exposed to violence and gangsterism in his community, it was easy and he was largely expected to fall in with the ‘wrong’ crowd. This environment, coupled with an ailing father, made for an unhappy, unmotivated young man who had no interest in school or the will to pursue a brighter future.
Enter Telkom Foundation, who have tasked themselves with addressing the problem of South Africa’s vastly under-resourced rural schools. Entrenched in this approach is the belief that coding should be our official 12th language; opening up opportunities and providing the quality education that local youth need to actively participate in the mainstream global economy.
When BB Beya was exposed to this coding opportunity, he became so eager to learn more. The opportunity gave him purpose and direction, steering him away from the bad crowd he was in, and into the focused young man he has now become. Not to mention the coding certificate and skills proficiency he now has, making him in demand and globally employable.

Short Story 2: Jongisapho Ndeya

Jongisapho Ndeya grew up in Soshanguve, Gauteng. When he was in Grade 8, Telkom Foundation arrived to renovate his school, installing computer labs providing technology opportunities that literally changed the trajectory of his life.
Now a BSc Computer Science student at the University of Pretoria, Jongi reflects on how he might not have even passed matric were it not for the new and improved access to quality learning opportunities provided by Telkom Foundation. He successfully passed matric with distinctions and the further support from Telkom Foundation in the form of a bursary has taken the financial pressure off. He can put his mind at rest to study and pursue his full academic and life potential.
Opportunities like this are what break generational poverty, and at scale, offer enormous potential for the broader society.

Short Story 3: Asemahle Dyoba

Asemahle Dyoba lives with her grandmother, a strict ex-teacher who has high expectations for her granddaughter when it comes to school. This structure is part of why Asemahle has been participating in the Telkom Saturday School program, a supplementary weekend and vacation program design to support school youth with reinforced learning, critical thinking skills, access to technology and the motivation to believe in themselves and understand that their destiny is in their hands
Given the schooling environment her grandmother was used to, Asemahle recounts her surprise and pride at the bus app her coding team created, chuckling about the fact that her grandmother would never be able to use it herself.
Despite this, her grandmother has a deep appreciation for the opportunities created by such exposure to computers and Telkom Foundation can take great pride in the number of students whose significant career choices in computers and engineering have been made possible by this life changing educational access.

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