The Smart Kids Learning Project is an initiative that was first started in 2011 by former Microsoft training analyst, Imelda Johnson and a global network of parents in ICT, who found that in order to secure the future technological demands of planet earth, it is necessary to mould a selection of young minds in various aspects of information technology, via a specifically concise and expedited curriculum.
Since its founding, dozens of participating children from various countries were subsequently able to attend special children workshops at Google, Dell, Microsoft, and Oracle, among others, while the most older of them have since went on to become young IT professionals at some of the world’s leading international IT firms, including Microsoft and Samsung among others.
While the project is one that rotates form country to country, sometimes under different project names, the African continent has been largely left out, mostly because of logistics and functional costs.
But now, and for the first time since its founding, the Smart Kids Project is being introduced to South Africa, and will run for a period of at least two years to ensure that maximum coverage is attained, and a larger number of children in South Africa has benefited from its implementation.
The project allows for children to be trained in various important areas of information technology by a team of IT specialist instructors who are generally attached to large Western technology companies such as Apple, Oracle and Dell, and who are versed in providing instructional training to younger children.
Most of these trainers are people who would have decided to volunteer by leaving their jobs for several weeks, just to ensure that children from various parts of the world are being better prepared for the future challenges of Information Technology.
These trainers are usually imported to most jurisdictions, because like many others, South Africa has a serious shortage of professional IT trainers, especially those that are equipped with the skill-set to effectively train children.
However, while the benefits of using these expertise to train South Africa’s children are immeasurable, the cost to fly them in, accommodate them, transporting them, ensuring their safety, and budgeting for other things such as their meals, in rotating batches is a really costly and tough requirement.
And as a result of the huge overheads to import these expertise to train the children, along with the various specially developed children IT textbooks and other materials, parents of children who are registered to participate in the project in South Africa will be required to supplement at least 50% of these costs by paying a prescribed fee of around $50 per child, per subject.
However, while some parents and some communities can afford to supplement these costs, the number of parents who cannot afford to do so are many.
In such a case, this will simply means that poor parents, and children from certain communities in South Africa, will be deprived of this invaluable opportunity, thus technically marginalizing and stifling them from becoming meaningful contributors to the technological and economic future of South Africa; - something that no right thinking person would want.
I know that we all have our own challenges and want the best for those that are close to us.
But if you can just show 1% interest today, in donating to the cause of just one child’s academic upliftment, you can be certain that you are saving at least one more child from the jaws of future poverty, crime, and economic exclusion in South Africa.
Because while this project is already well organized for hosting in several communities which has already supported it, such as Rosebank, Sandton, and Pretoria, among others, it is a shame to know that to date, there is not a single fully-funded project in Soweto, Tembisa, and Germiston, among many others, simply because many parents in these communities cannot afford to co-fund such a project, even though the children of those communities, desperately needs such a project to help mound them into future meaningful contributors to society.
That being the case, and as the Administrator of the Smart Kids Project in South Africa, I felt it necessary to reach out to every listening citizen of South Africa, in a bid to urge them to support the implementation of this project in the communities of Soweto, among others, and to help me in my quest to uplift the children of these communities.
You can do so by either donating a room in your home for the visiting children tutors, donating to the cost of computers and text books, or to the cost of the meal program that is associated with each project.
The mere fact that it will cost an average of almost to R250,000 to host this project over a two months period in each of these disadvantaged communities is personally scary in number to me.
But if I can just get the assistance of less than 1% of those that can help in South Africa, this project will have more than what is needed to make it a reality.
Therefore, in closing, I hope that you will consider those disadvantaged children, and thus find it worthy to even donate a single Rand (yes, just even R1) to this cause, and help me in my quest for a better South Africa.