Masiphumelele is an informal settlement just outside Cape Town, where 38,000 people live in crowded conditions. Youth unemployment in Masiphumelele is estimated to be as high as 50%. Masipumelele Public Library is a colourful and vibrant centre in the heart of the community - the only place providing free access to computers, the internet and the training support young people desperately need.
The innovative project
With support from EIFL’s Public Library Innovation Programme (EIFL-PLIP) in 2011, and in partnership with the technology support agency, Edunova, the library upgraded its computer laboratory and designed a training programme that included basic, intermediate and advanced computer and internet skills. Working with the youth development organization, IkamvaYouth, the library added careers counselling and job-seeking skills to this curriculum. Marketing of the project in the community attracted hundreds of applicants for the library’s free training.
achievements and impact
In just one year, the library trained 1,540 beginners to use computers, and 48 intermediate students. This training coupled with employment information and careers support, helped over 20 vulnerable young people find jobs and encouraged 31 to continue with their education.