Rural pupils join cyber community

PORT ELIZABETH - Hundreds of children in the Eastern Cape have been given a glimpse into a whole new world.

Until recently, most of the Port Elizabeth pupils had never seen – let alone touched – a computer before.

But now, thanks to the Department of Communications, they&39;ll learn how to use laptops and research their school projects online.

The laptops are the realisation of a dream.

For eight years, South Korean missionary Joon Kim has used second-hand parts, to build makeshift computers for John Masiza Primary.

"99% is the first time for them to touch a computer and also first time browsing the internet so quite good for challenge," said Pastor Joon Kim of the Christian Cultural Youth Mission. 

The school has been given a two-year internet connectivity contract.

"It&39;s high time they utilise the cyber lab to Google themselves out of poverty so they can feed into a better South Africa," said Deputy Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.

Universal Service and Access Agency of SA&39;s Pumla Radebe said: "It&39;s an opportunity for them to play in the bigger field of the world where they can communicate amongst each other as well as learn a lot."

For pupils like Zikhona Faba, it&39;s a life-changing experience.

"We were all excited because we were thinking about the internet and no more going to the libraries so everyone was so excited," said Zikhona.

The department has given its assurance that the lab will be used as teachers have been trained in the necessary computer skills.

It has also confirmed security at the school has been beefed up.