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Dell Technologies, in partnership with Computer Aid International, CDW and Small Projects Foundation, has launched a new Solar Community Hub in Newlands, South Africa, to connect underserved communities with access to technology, enable skill development and increase community capacity building.  

Dell Technologies’ support of hubs has reached over 2.48 million students and community members in countries across the world, including Brazil, Colombia, Kenya, Mexico, India, Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa. The Newlands facility brings the current number of hubs to 49 and is the 14th in South Africa. These Solar Community Hubs will help community members learn about STEM careers and develop critical skills needed to participate in the digital economy. In the just-launched Newlands hub, additional services also provide increased access to economic opportunities and healthcare. 

Dell Technologies and Computer Aid International have collaborated on Solar Community Hubs since 2011. Fixed hubs have an increased footprint for community support, networking and capacity to support remote areas. They are made of two recycled shipping containers transformed into a well-lit, well-ventilated internet centre. Fixed hubs are powered by solar power, to run energy-efficient desktops, Latitude Rugged notebooks and air-cooled servers.

Digitising the Region
The residents of Newlands can access to electricity, healthcare and resources for environmental preservation available in the hub. It also combines digital literacy offerings with new services based on the community’s needs, bringing digital tools like desktops, laptops, servers, projectors, and Wi-Fi to community members. Additional programmes combat HIV/AIDS and unwanted pregnancies, support mothers to raise healthy children, provide support over the first two years of a child’s life, and establish growing gardens to help provide nutritious meals to children.

Now, community members previously faced with making tough decisions to either travel far distances to get modern services or forgo their studies have the access they need to take education and vocational courses and prepare for the job market. This opens the doors for new career opportunities for community members previously hindered by a lack of public access to the internet.

Key characteristics of the new Solar Community Hub include: 

·       Designed with two connected recycled shipping containers to provide more space and accommodate more local community members and their needs.  

·       Job creation and greater financial sustainability with new revenue-generating services in community service in the health, education and social care sectors. Small Projects Foundation also supports young women and girls to from the whole province to complete school, study further and find employment opportunities.  

·       Help to educate participants in basic computer skills while learning essential life skills like entrepreneurship, résumé building, university and scholarship applications, job search skills and career guidance.  

·       Computer literacy classes are provided to Grade 6 and 7 learners from the local primary schools, ensuring they are computer literate by the time they advance to secondary school. Thirty Youth Service Ambassadors are undergoing computer five-day computer literacy training and are supported by a highly-skilled Solar Hub Supervisor.

·       Leverages a community-first approach to customise service and product offerings, including education, an HIV Prevention Programme, a Moms Mentorship Programme, an Early Childhood Development Programme and the Umbono Project, which identifies children with vision problems and provides spectacles.  

·       The hub is a community centre managed by the community, ensuring more value and social validation.  

·       Built with Dell technology-enabled solutions.

Power in Partnership 

Dell Technologies currently collaborates with approximately 40 strategic partners globally, including Computer Aid, Dell’s nonprofit partner for Solar Community Hub development. Since 2011, Computer Aid has served a foundational, pivotal role in identifying the locations and partner needs of the Solar Community Hub strategy.   

Additional quotes

·       “The project will benefit many generations with the opportunity to participate in higher education and vocational courses as well as prepare them for the job market.” — Monde Mfene, Ward Councillor

·       “CDW is pleased to partner with Dell to make this Solar Community Hub a reality for the Newlands area. This project aligns closely with CDW’s belief that everyone should have access to the unlimited possibilities that technology unlocks.” – Suzette Carty, Head of Global ESG for CDW

·       “The development of this computer lab marks a significant leap towards enhancing educational opportunities and bridging the digital divide. As someone from the Eastern Cape, I know the incredible impact this initiative will have on young lives in the community.” – Zimasa Jmsana, Coworker Success Business Partner for CDW UK&I – South Africa Shared Services Centre

·       “The Newlands Hub demonstrates our combined commitment and investment to support end-to-end growth for the community,” said Doug Woolley, General Manager, Dell Technologies South Africa. “We’re excited to continue our digital access mission through the introduction of this Hub, serving as a necessary step in fostering community well-being in tandem with sustainable, long-term growth.”— Doug Woolley, General Manager, Dell Technologies South Africa

·       “This Hub marks an important milestone in how we can support the community in both the near- and long-term. We’re keen to see the community’s reception and continue to adapt the project to what matters most to them. Our priority is to support and advance the community through our Solar Community Hub’s services, and we’re just getting started. With the Hub, we’re opening the door to so many opportunities and creating a brighter, more tangible future for many people in the community.” — Dr Paul Cromhout, CEO, Small Projects Foundation


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