Education

PRIYO : providing access to skills training in technology to under-resourced schools and communities

Written by Palesa Mahlatji


Tell us a few words about the founders and how the idea came

I was poor to the point I fainted in class. I remained in a public school believing that it was the key to my success. After finishing my matric I found myself unemployed desperately looking for a job and in most places, i went to submit my Curriculum Vitae (CV) I was told that they don’t accept handed in CV’s and the sad part was that I couldn’t use computers because my school had no computer labs. I finally made it to university and had the challenge of having to use the computer for the first time. I was often behind in submitting my assignments as I couldn’t access the online material.

I was fortunate to finally be employed by the banking industry yet my passion was always in serving my community. I researched topics on how to fight unemployment and I then discovered that the common theme was education. I believed that with access to information many students could make better-informed decisions about their careers. I further discovered that in South Africa only 40.9% of public schools have access to computer labs and only 28% of those labs where being utilized. Mainly because most of the teachers were not computer literate. In 2015 I left the banking industry, sold my car and withdrew my provident fund in order to fund the business called Providing Real Innovative Youth Opportunities (PRIYO).

At PRIYO we have developed a portable solar digital smart computer lab to train youth from underprivileged, under-resourced schools and communities in rural and peri-urban areas on how to use the computer. We train them in IT: End-user computing, ICT, Digital Marketing and E-Learning we integrate (ICT) & digital training into the education system and linking job seekers to online employment opportunities with the vision to create employment opportunities, reduce poverty and improve the economic status of the country

Link to online video  

Your products and services 

At PRIYO we have developed a portable solar digital smart computer lab to train youth from underprivileged, under-resourced schools and communities in rural and peri-urban areas on how to use the computer. We train them in IT: End-user computing, ICT, Digital Marketing and E-Learning we integrate (ICT) & digital training into the education system and linking job seekers to online employment opportunities.

Your success factors 

After completing our programmes they are able to use the computer, do their assignments and homework use the internet, search and apply for jobs online, write CV’s, prepare for interviews, apply for university entrance and look for bursaries. We have a reached 463 students and target to reach 9000 students by 2018. 40 of our learners have been awarded a leadership opportunity we have created 15 employment opportunities and 3 have established their own business. In June this year, we were given 88 grade 8 learners students who had failed their mathematics. We trained them on how to use the Vodacom online E-School app and all 88 passed during September exams. 

Your factors differentiating and disruptive compared to the existing 

Our differentiation is that firstly we converted a normal suitcase into a portable solar digital smart bag that helps us reach rural communities without electricity by using renewable solar energy. This bag helps us transport the laptops and tablets from one location to the next helping us save on resources and safety. We also use existing infrastructure such as schools and government community centers to offer our training. This allows us to cut rent costs. And using laptops/tablets instead of computers allow us to create economies of scale in that we can train many people in different places with limited resources. Using schools and community centers ensures that we are closer to the individuals’ homes, so they save on transport and they can easily access training.

Your business model 

We charge affordable pricing for our tuition parents, and individuals who want to up-skill themselves pay for their study fees. We also have government, or corporate companies who fund through their CSI projects. They either fund a child in need or they can buy the solar digital smart bag for a school.

A few words about your competitors

Our competitors are Computers for kids, Silulo technologies, The Mdantsane ICT centre and the number of colleges and government agencies providing skills training. In most cases, we have chosen to collaborate with these institutions as most of them avoid going to rural and peri-urban areas.

Your website 

https://mypriyo.wordpress.com/

 

About the author

Palesa Mahlatji

Palesa holds a Bachelors of Commerce Degree in Marketing Management and is currently studying towards an Honours Degree in Business Management, she has a certificate in Numerical Skills for business and IT: End User Computer and a Diploma in Bookkeeping and accounting.She has worked as an Administrative officer at the IT Department at Caxton Netcafe, then employed by ABSA bank where she worked as a Digital sales consultant and was awarded as the top sales consultant from 2012-2013. She was later employed by Standard Bank as a Customer Consultant for the front of house. And was chosen as the only candidate from her province to be part of the Red Bull Amaphiko academy and was also part of the 15 young Social entrepreneurs in 2017 to be part of Ygap/spark international Accelerator programme. And in 2016 she was awarded with a heroes award for young person of the year and in 2017 she was awarded with the Youth in ICT Award.

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