Ten Yes4Youth participants have become WiFi Entrepreneurs thanks to their involvement with a non-profit organisation, Project Isizwe.The participants develop digital skills which will help them boost their entrepreneurial abilities and earn a sustainable income in the future. They aim to place unemployed young people in companies for a 12-month paid internship.
Project Isizwe focuses on improving access to free and low-cost WiFi in South Africa, “We were recently approached by Yes4Youth and this provided us with an opportunity to expose youth to work experience in the technology field,” says Siobhan Thatcher, manager of the Project.
The WiFi Entrepreneurs is based in Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape and play a crucial role in monitoring WiFi hotspots that Project Isizwe has helped to set up in these provinces. “They are deployed at our access points, monitoring whether things are running properly. They have been trained through mentorship and on-the-job training, and they have also been able to do online training courses where they can get certificates,” said Thatcher.
They are also given a chance to earn an income by selling affordable internet vouchers to customers. “This is where the entrepreneurial aspect is important. By giving these young people the chance to learn entrepreneurial skills, they can be better equipped to earn an income after the internship,” says Thatcher.
Nwabisa Dondolo is one of the WiFi Entrepreneurs, who is working in KwaZulu-Natal. “The field of technology is something which I am very interested in. This internship has given me so much knowledge about technology, especially WiFi. I will also be able to sell vouchers to people and make an income. I am very thankful for this opportunity given to me by Yes4Youth and Project Isizwe.”
Dondolo is studying to be an IT technician while completing her internship, and she hopes to get a career in IT one day. “There are a lot of job opportunities in IT. Being a WiFi Entrepreneur has given me some good work experience, and I hope that after my internship, I will be able to find a job in the field and help support my family,” she said.