GVI: Female Empowerment
This past Winter Break, 12 NYU students volunteered at townships outside of Cape Town, South Africa, as part of women's empowerment and local construction projects.
Women Empowerment Computer Lessons
During our trip, we taught computer classes to women in the township of Nomzamo. These classes were offered because community members expressed an interest in learning computer skills so that they could apply to jobs that were not in walking distance and that offer more pay. In addition, computer skills enabled women to create and edit their resumes. The women we worked with had varying degrees of computer experience so our lessons were tailored to meet the needs of each student; some lessons focused on how to left click on a mouse while others involved making graphs on excel. The lessons focused on the same material that was found on a syllabus for a community college computer course and when the women demonstrated proficiency in Word, Excel and PowerPoint, they earned a certificate.
"Working with these women was such an inspiration! One of my favorite students was a woman who returned each day despite not speaking any English and my not speaking any Xhosa (local language). I was so impressed with her willingness to pursue lessons despite a language barrier - she never let frustration prevent her from succeeding in class! When we first began, she had never used a computer. However by the end of our time, she was becoming skilled in Microsoft Word!"
-- Katherine, student leader for AB South Africa Trip
"My favorite part of the computer lessons were seeing students correct their own mistakes. Those moments taught me that people are able to learn and decide for themselves when you respect their pace and their space. "
-- Cloey, student participant for AB South Africa Trip
In the afternoon, we painted a school building for the local children. We created murals for 4 of the walls, which represented the hope and joy that learning brings.
"Some of the children, whose age ranged from 4 to 13, started hanging out with us and most of them end up helping us paint. They told us what their days were like at school, their favorite activities and their aspirations in life. They were such an incredible individuals, welcoming to us who were from different backgrounds and curious about the world. It was such a pleasure not just to bring more color to the school building, but also to get to know the students who will be spending time at the school."
-- Yuko, student participant for AB South Africa Trip