To genuinely transform rural communities that are isolated by distance and technology, access to internet services is vital and especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic, where many relief programmes require electronic submissions. This is one of the main reasons why Konkoonsies Solar Power decided to provide funding for an internet café that aims to provide affordable access to internet and printing services to the remote communities of Pofadder, Onseepkans and Pella.
“By having an equipped IT container for all their printing and internet needs, community members are able to do their UIF submission and other COVID-19 relief fund applications. This is a great relief as people don’t have to leave town and incur the cost of travel,” explains Mr. Scheepers, owner of Walyb’s Computer Solutions.
Pofadder community member and SMME owner, Mr Wallace Scheepers, who had been struggling to run a business from the backyard of his home is the beneficiary of this container business. He will now be able to expand and employ two additional people from the community.
“Our aim is to help grow this young enterprise into a sustainable business whilst helping the communities of this area to have proper internet access. Currently community members need to travel long distances, which is costly and draining,” explained Tsholofelo Moote, Economic Development Practitioner for Konkoonsies Solar Power.
Mr Scheepers views his technology services as essential as it helps people to undertake activities such as filing job applications, business communication, even online learning with ease, especially as it is a rare privilege in the small rural town of Pofadder to own a computer with internet access at home.
“My plan, as the owner of Walyb’s Computer Solutions, is to help people understand that in today’s world we can’t live without IT. I am here to serve the community in a technical way, because in today’s life it is essential, not a luxury,” concluded Mr. Scheepers.
The solar plant’s support of this local enterprise includes the establishment of the site that will house the container business, fencing for security, the supply of a business container, in addition to the necessary printing equipment, computers and shelving, amongst other essentials.
Just as important as the hardware, working capital to cover the salary of three employees and other running costs will be covered for a defined period.