By Philip McAllister
Godfrey, a former volunteer at Camara Kenya was recently employed by The Good Life Orphanage in Mombasa, Kenya as an IT teacher and Maintenance Technician. Godfrey gained the skills he required for this challenging role during a structured training programme which was facilitated by donations of computers by individuals and companies in Ireland.
Camara is working not only to enhance education in schools, but to ensure that the learning needs of all young people and adults in Kenya are met through equitable access to appropriate learning and life skills programmes. Camara Kenya, in partnership with the Cisco Networking Academy, trains volunteers and provides them with the technical skills required to maintain ICT infrastructure in schools through the ‘Cisco- IT Essentials’ course. This course is taught as part of a three-month volunteer programme, designed to engage communities and build skills for graduates and young people seeking to gain professional experience.
This course, built around the refurbishment and repair of computer equipment donated by the Irish public, helps young people to prepare for in-demand information and communication technology jobs in the future. Kenya has been described as the ‘Silicon Savannah’ of Africa with demand for IT skills on the rise, but unfortunately with little appropriate courses on offer and even more worryingly, the high cost of entry to third-level education prevent many from getting a chance to learn the essential skills needed to get onto the job ladder.
Godfrey joined Camara’s volunteer program in 2011, learning computer maintenance, software administration and networking. Godfrey enjoyed the camaraderie and community feeling he experienced at Camara as well as the ability to tinker, work and fix on 1000’s of Camara machines en route to schools in Kenya.
Godfrey wrote to Camara recently and thanked the organisation for granting him the opportunity to progress in his career, and for the impact that Camara is having in disadvantaged communities in Mombasa. “You have supported community and children from unstable backgrounds to have access to computers. Without computers, there is no technology” said Godfrey.
Godfrey expressed his joy at being awarded the opportunity to work at the local primary school and orphanage, “I am happy here at Good Life Orphanage because there are many challenges. I really love challenges because they make me stronger when I overcome them”.
Godfrey is typical of the type of young, motivated, knowledge-hungry person that Camara trains. Camara trains over 200 volunteers per year in its courses, where they gain Cisco certification and can confidently enter the job market. In a country with unemployment rates of 40%, this small lift up, facilitated by Irish donations of hardware, is priceless.