Kissing computer illiteracy goodbye

Phina Lukomba is smiling in disbelief.

In her rural school, a computer lab has just been officially opened.

“I never thought that one day I would have a chance to see, touch, learn and use a computer especially in a place like this one,” says Phina, a 21-year-old who is studying in Grade 12. “All I know is that computers are for those who live in urban areas, especially the working class.”

World Vision Zambia, in partnership with Intel and Hoops of Hope of the United States, provided a computer lab made from a 40 foot shipping container, complete with solar power and 20 computers – each installed with a data library at the Jonathan Sim-Chikanta High School in a very rural area of Zambia’s Southern Province.

“I never thought would ever come as a reality. I will make sure that I utilise the computers to advance my education,” Phina says.

Phina is one of 309 students attending this secondary school. 

Clement Chipokolo, World Vision Zambia’s Southern Regional Operations Manager, says the people who live in this community where World Vision’s Twachiyanda Area Development Programme (ADP) operates are witnessing history. There are no other computer labs in any Kalomo District schools.

“When I was growing up and finished my school, I never had access to computers but here we are, in the midst of nowhere, witnessing the handover of computers,” he says.

Clement adds the computer technology will forever change the destiny of the pupils and entire community.

Bernd Nordhausen, Intel World Ahead Program’s Senior Solutions Architect, says the installation of the computers at the school was the dream of their education service programme, which they hope to fulfill effectively by partnering with organisations such as World Vision.

“The computers we have installed use low power voltage, therefore solar power works well for them in places where there is no electricity,” Bernd explains.

The 17-year-old Hoops of Hope founder, Austin Gutwein, was a driving force behind building the school which opened in 2008.

The school is named after Jonathan Sim, a former World Vision USA employee, who had a dream for the children of Twachiyanda community. While Jonathan passed away, the school was built thanks to the fundraising of Austin.

“My wish is that these computers will help you to excel in your education and bring hope to you all and your families. I encourage you to use the computers very well,” Austin says.

The computer lab is already providing children with new skills.

“I am able to type and play games. Also I have learnt how to browse through and search for information stored on to the computers. However, we are still learning how to do several other things,” she says smiling.