The Bulungula Incubator is located in one of the most rural parts of the Mbhashe municipality, which is one of the poorest in South Africa (according to latest census results). Here, there is no electricity, limited infrastructure and treacherous dirt roads. Educational and employment outcomes amplify the consequences of poor service delivery. Youth unemployment is above 90 percent and barely five percent of adults finish high school. It is not likely that the youth of Xhora Mouth will have access to the same educational facilities, teachers, resources or tools that urban areas have anytime soon.
Around the world, effective use of technology at school is advancing education across the globe. However, lack of electricity, high data prices and non-availability of electronic devices create considerable obstacles for young individuals in rural areas to achieve their full potential. In partnership with The Delta, as a pilot project for rural schools, we set up the Bulungula Tech Centre — a low-cost tech centre equipped with 16 computer stations.
The Bulungula Tech Centre connects Raspberry Pi’s (RPi), cost-effective, energy-efficient computers, to a central server. This technology effectively runs on the Bulungula College solar system, with a total set up cost of R75 000. To further reduce costs, we are using Kolibri, a free offline digital-learning platform developed by the Learning Equality Foundation, as well as shared folders across a local network so that learners are able to access downloaded material, without burdening the centre with accrued data costs.
The Bulungula Tech Centre will provide learners with online resources to supplement their school curricula, provide online training to unemployed youth, allow learners to apply for tertiary education & NSFAS, and to provide computer literacy to both learners and community members - providing youth in Bulungula with access to new opportunities and potential.