Jul 19, 2016
One man’s desire to give back to the community he grew up in has resulted in the handover of a brand new solar powered computer lab for Kateshi Primary School in Kasama, Zambia.
Evance Chanda, now Executive Director of the Southern Africa Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry and originally from the village of Mankalala close to Kateshi Primary School, visited the area in 2015 after a 30-year absence. While back home, he took advantage of an opportunity to deliver a motivational talk at the school, recounting his experiences to the learners of overcoming often difficult odds to achieve success.
He was moved to act by a discussion with the School Principle, Mr Martin Mumba on the challenges they faced in providing access to technology for learners. Most learners at the school had never ever had access to a computer, yet were required to sit for examinations in computer science – at a huge disadvantage to them.
Chanda immediately started a campaign to build the school a computer lab, seeking support for his ambitious plan via crowdfunding as well as on social media. It wasn’t until donors like Kutenga Technology, Shoprite, Acrow SA Ltd, Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines, Olam international and a few private donors came on board, that plans for the computer lab really started to take shape.
The containerised state-of-the-art computer lab is one of the first of its kind to be installed at a school in Zambia. Custom built for Kateshi Primary School, the lab was designed to overcome the challenges of electricity supply and a lack of infrastructure while bridging the technology gap for students and teachers alike by also providing access to relevant software as well as the internet.
Shoprite helped to transport the lab from South Africa, directly to the school, ensuring that all components arrived safely and intact for the learners and teachers. As Africa’s largest retailer, the Shoprite Group is committed to the local communities in which it operates. This commitment entails bringing consumer’s consistently low prices everyday, creating job opportunities where its stores are located as well as joining hands with communities to #ActForChange in uplifting, growing and improving them. Shoprite was inspired by the story of how the project had come into existence and immediately pledged its support to help transport the lab to its final destination.
The Kateshi Primary Computer Lab is set to become the flagship rural Information and Communication Technology hub in Kasama, benefitting more than 10 primary schools and helping around 6000 Grade 7 to 9 learners get practical training to support their Computer Science theory lessons.
“I am very excited and deeply humbled that this project is finally up and running. I firmly believe that in order to go forward, we need to reflect on where we have come from. I am grateful to all the donors involved for making this dream a reality and for securing a brighter future for learners in the area,” says Chanda.