Cape Access is changing the lives of people in Merweville
Merweville is a town in the Central Karoo, about 150 km from Beaufort West and 45 km northwest of Prince Albert. Like many other small towns in the Western Cape, Merweville has its origins as a Dutch Reformed Church Parish. In 1897 the farmers in the area appealed to the church to create a new parish. The minister from the Beaufort West Parish, Reverend Pieter van der Merwe supported them in their request. In 1904, on a portion of the farm Vanderbijlskraal, the parish and Merweville were established.
The small community of about 1 600 people, like any other small community in the Western Cape, faces many socio-economic challenges. Recognising the need for access to information and communication technology (ICT), the Cape Access Programme opened the doors to the Merweville e-Centre in 2017.
The e-Centre staff has built a strong relationship with the community organisations in the area. Together they are changing the lives of the people, supporting personal growth and upliftment. Today it’s difficult to imagine the town without access to computers and the internet.
Services at the e-Centre include:
- Access to computers and the internet (45 minutes a session)
- Computer assistance
- Email facilities
- Online job searches and applications
- Help setting up e-mail accounts
- Access to government information and services
- e-Learner: comes with an entry-level accredited certificate.
- International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL): seven-month accredited course.
- Informal computer training.
For the small community of Merweville having access to ICT has made an enormous impact on their lives, giving the people the opportunity for growth and upliftment.
The e-Centre has fostered an interest in ICT in the community. In March 2019 they documented 1021 sessions, the most in the history of the e-Centre. Piet Waterboer is one of the frequent visitors to the e-Centre. He is a community development worker who recently completed the e-learner course, expanding his knowledge and improving his ICT skills.
Christofna Scheepers, a supervisor at the Merweville Community Works Programme, completed the basic informal training and the International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL). Her newly acquired skills helped her to improve on her administrative tasks, submitting reports, communicating via email, and interpersonal communications with colleagues.
Christo Farao, Christofna’s manager, has also pursued the ICT learning opportunity and access at the facility. Farao, the manager at the Karoo Bossie Service Centre, visits the e-Centre not only for professional reasons but also personal. As the Secretary of the Central Karoo Rugby Union, he uses the facilities at the e-Centre to support him in this role.
The former e-Centre manager, Gradwell Ben, says the e-Centre is making progress with basic and accredited computer training. “In 2017 we recruited a group of 10 Community Work Programme (CWP) workers for Basic Informal Training, and 5 of them completed the course. In 2018 most of the 10 recruited candidates for the e-learner course completed the course. The candidates included interns from the municipality, officials from the Community Development Workers Programme, CWP workers, and community members.”
Ben, is one of the e-Centres’ success stories and is taking a position at the Department of Social Development at the Beaufort West office. He is excited about the facility and the possibilities it brings. “In 2018 we had our first Graduation ceremony and this year we welcomed our first PAY intern”, Ben added.
Visit the Merweville e-Centre at 44 Voortrekker Street. The staff such as development manager Mary-Ann Voster and the PAY Intern, Anquenic Devenish, are ready to assist.
Tel: 023 501 4203