Why Our CEO is Celebrating 3 Years at our Rural Campus of the Future

So how do you even begin to describe the magic that is Hazyview Digital Learning Campus (HDLC) and how grateful I am to be a part of the work Good Work Foundation (GWF) is doing, and that I get to work with the best team of #ruralrockstars in the world?

That friends, is the reason I sat at a table and dreamed of a new way of education in rural spaces. That our Partners joining us on this mission; T Systems, the Department of Education, ABSA, Mnet Cares, Rand Water, Londolozi, Rhino Africa, the All Heart Fund and Sabi Sand also continue to strive for that goal.

We had an empty dusty barn and we now have a world class learning space, and a building site became a garden Oasis. Three years ago Trevor Manuel opened this campus and asked us to please “make sure it works”, and that we did and continue to do so.

Young people from this rural part of South Africa (SA) can now make choices for their own futures, and are role models for more young people both here and all over SA. These young people can access courses in IT, Hospitality and Conservation, Music and Media, as well as a bridging year that has evolved giving young people the ‘Languages of Access”, guiding them on their careers, introducing them to finance, and entrepreneurship as well as discovering themselves.

This also means that there is someone that can guide you on career choices and that you no longer just want a job.

Hundreds of Grade nines can attend a career day before making choices of subjects that affect their future, that we have students attending further training in IT and Hospitality, that our second year IT class networks classrooms for other NGO’s. Our graduates are some of the top students this year at the SA College of Tourism.

You will be served by HDLC graduates at Kruger Park Lodge, at Summerfields, in PicknPay, and they are great at their job.

Our Graduates are data capturers for the Department of Health and Education and some have their own businesses.

We have our own Media Academy and they write front page articles for newspapers, and their work is seen and read by people all over the world.

We have young people who write and perform SLAM Poetry, we have staff members who are bloggers and a teacher has become a #DigitalCEO. We have a choir and Marimba and Djembe band and students studying music theory. We have friends on all continents, from all over South Africa and in our own back yards. All helping us make this work.

We had six staff members when this campus was opened, but now the number has gone up to 45 employees. Young people who could not imagine what they wanted to do are clearly defining paths for themselves, and those young people who did not dream of studying further, are now registered at University and have a job teaching others.

We started with a few laptops and now have over 80 computer stations in two IT classrooms and the Open Learning Barn. There are more than 100 tablets used all week with countless APPS.

That the idea of supporting the local primary schools has become a movement that will be showcased before movies at Ster Kinekor.

That the 70 school learners we began with are now over 1400 a week, and that by next month will be 3000.

That Grade four children now do their maths and English digitally and that Annual National Assessment (ANA) scores have gone up by 30%. That hundreds of young South Africans have visited the Kruger Park for the first time and that we have a conservation academy that gives young people an opportunity to fly drones.

That HDLC is now the Hub for 8 satellite primary schools and that we will begin to extend this learning environment back to the schools and with Computer Labs on wheels; charging trolleys with Tablets and APPS brought to the Grade fives by our GWF Facilitators.

That Hazyview with its Open Learning Model can become a digital education model for areas all over SA and the rest of Africa.

That from a pile of old computers the Digital Tree of Knowledge grew.

That we gather under this tree and learn from elders, tablets and people all over the world.

That our Facilitators attend classes at American Universities – via SKYPE.

And that via SKYPE our school learners share ideas and time with children all over the World.

That Inspirational speakers have spoken under this tree; Trevor Manuel, MEC Regina Mhaule, Pastor Solly, Sibusiso Vilane, Boyd Varty, the list is endless.

So how do we celebrate the three years? By celebrating the graduates today and then by coming back to work on Monday and continuing to be at the forefront of this Education revolution.

"We celebrate the three years by coming back to work on Monday and continue to be at the forefront of this education revolution."

“We celebrate the three years by coming back to work on Monday and continue to be at the forefront of this education revolution.”

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Open Learning Academy students pose under the Digital Tree of Knowledge with Karabo.

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The Music Academy is one of the most recently added academies at GWF.

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HDLC Team poses with Gogo under the tree on her birthday.

Cheers to Singita for allowing the Madlala Hospitality students to learn more about hospitality.

Cheers to Singita for allowing the Madlala Hospitality students to learn more about hospitality activities.

The new capped graduates are ready to join the digital economy with the skills they acquired at HDLC.

The new capped graduates are ready to join the digital economy with the skills they acquired at HDLC.

Written by Kate Groch, compiled by GWF Media Academy.

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