BY: Samuel Mungadze, Senior News Journalist.
Tech non-profit organisation Empire Partner Foundation (EPF) has sent the first cohort of students to Russia, as part of its international academic programme, which seeks to develop SA’s skills ecosystem.
The EPF International academic programme offers scholarships to young people from previously-disadvantaged backgrounds to study various technology-related courses.
It saw 27 candidates depart this week to study abroad this year in Russia.
The EPF is a non-profit organisation established in 2016. Its purpose is to empower youth to build South Africa and Africa through technology by solving key socio-economic challenges affecting the public.
Since November 2020, the organisation has been hosting hackathons, seeking to unearth talented software developers, and now it has selected 27 out of more than 200 applications for its international academic programme.
“We at EPF play a critical role in developing SA’s skills ecosystem by serving as a platform and catalyst in future-proofing many previously-disadvantaged youth by bridging opportunities for them to pursue their studies in various tech and socio-economic career fields,” says programme manager Jasmine Mokwena.
“With South African youth, the talent is there, the hunger to thrive is there; we simply need to meet them halfway by providing the necessary platforms and vigorous support they deserve. It is imperative for South Africa to grow a skills base that is measured by international standards in order to bridge the tech and skills development gaps that exist between a developing country like ours and first-world countries.”
One of the beneficiaries of the programme, Bruce Mphikwa (29), who will be studying for a degree in informatics and computer engineering at Moscow Polytechnic University, comments: “This opportunity creates job opportunities for me and is adding more skills to my resumé and hopefully demand to make a difference in my beautiful country South Africa.”
Mphikwa, who took his first flight this week, adds: “When I come back to South Africa, I hope to have acquired enough to not only contribute to the economy, but I hope to make a valuable impact. I hope to inspire youths from all different backgrounds that they too can not give up on themselves. There’s opportunities out there catered just for you.”
For Theophilus Mentor, whose daughter Cherel is part of the cohort, the programme will help transform the lives of young people and empower them with skills the country needs.
“I am overwhelmed with excitement. At first it was unbelievable seeing our daughter at OR Tambo International Airport preparing herself to go and study out of the country; we never thought it would go this far.
“With all the support we received from the entire group of EPF, we as the parents would like to say thanks and keep on doing the great job for our children. Thank you for believing in her; you never lost hope and you kept on encouraging the team not to lose hope.”
For more articles please visit the following link: Articles – NGOConnectSA
picture courtesy pexels: https://www.pexels.com/search/Youth/