Cape Access puts Bitterfontein on the ICT map
The Cape Access Programme through the Bitterfontein e-Centre is helping to change the lives of the community by bringing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) closer to home.
Providing access to ICT facilities to rural communities across the Western Cape has always been the aim of the programme, which has proven to be very successful in communities such as Bitterfontein.
Located in the Knersvlakte region of our province, the small town of Bitterfontein is about 385 km north of Cape Town, where it's not uncommon to find a donkey cart with its passengers in the town.
The small community of about 1 000 people experiences the similar socio-economic challenges that most rural towns in the Western Cape experience. There's also little opportunity for growth. The opportunity for the community to have access to ICT facilities didn't exist before 2008, and that made it an ideal location for a Cape Access e-Centre.
The Cape Access Programme invested in setting up an e-Centre in the town, and in 2008 the Bitterfontein e-Centre was opened, which still has a steady flow of almost 40 registered users daily and also serves the communities of Putsekloof, Rietpoort and Molsvlei.
Services at the e-Centre includes:
- Internet access (45 minutes a session).
- E-mail facilities.
- Help setting up e-mail accounts.
- Assistance with online job searches and applications.
- Computer assistance.
- Free printing (maximum of 10 pages a day).
- Assistance with typing of CVs, business plans and obituaries.
- Research information for school, college and university projects.
- e-Learner: entry-level accredited certificate.
- International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL): seven-month accredited course.
- Informal Computer training.
Helping to provide and grow e-skills, the e-Centre has become an integral part of the community. The centre manager, Aldo Owies, says that the e-Centre has enabled learners, from primary and high school, to better perform on assessments as the centre provides the leaners with access to do research and expand their knowledge.
Owies comments on one of the e-Centre’s success stories. “John Ovis started at the local garden project as a community development worker. Access to the services at the e-Centre empowered Ovis and aided in his personal growth. He now works at the local Matzikama Municipality in the capacity of Manager of Community Services.
“The e-Centre also employs and prepares interns and matriculants for their future careers. We had 2 PAY interns at the centre that has been able to study further,” Owies added.
Other than the e-Centre which serves the community, the town is making major strides to improve the lives of the community. A desalination plant was declared officially open in March 2010, by the then Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Mrs Edna Molewa. The desalination plant for domestic use is the first of its kind in South Africa, which supplies Bitterfontein and the nearby village of Rietpoort with drinking water.
The Bitterfontein e-Centre operates from the Thusong Centre where the Cape Access team is always ready and committed to changing the lives of the people in the community.
Visit the e-Centre on the corner of Kock and Long Streets. The e-Centre is open from 8am until 4pm, Monday to Friday.
Contact the e-Centre:
Tel: 027 642 7344