ORT SA Celebrates 75 Years of Success with New Programs
ORT South Africa (SA) celebrates its 75th anniversary with the launch of a fundraising campaign and the re-launching of its website with the ability to accept donations from overseas.
ORT SA is also using the occasion of its diamond anniversary to form a Microsoft-accredited IT training academy. An initial group of 20 disabled people has already completed a 10-day course in basic computer skills.
“It’s very exciting, South Africa has never had an NGO-run IT training academy before,” said ORT SA National Director Yehuda Kay. “It’s very important: you can’t get a job nowadays without computer literacy. So we have courses ranging from the very basic to advanced. And once our students are computer literate we can look at other skills and business training.”
ORT SA is also introducing the Educator’s Assistant Learnership initiative, which gives students who have matriculated from high school but do not have the resources to study further, the chance to become teaching assistants in their alma mater. They will undertake administrative duties, help to maintain discipline in the sometimes large classes, institute after-school sports and cultural activities, and provide educational support for students. In addition, they will take a vocational qualification in project management.
Other flagship programs include a four-year math intervention initiative in the Alexandra Township, SEED courses to facilitate life skills learning, Whole School Development for self-study and improvement and the Bill of Responsibilities Projects based on values drawn from the ethos of the New South Africa.
Now underway are plans to roll out the highly successful Learners of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow program piloted at the Minerva School in Alexandra Township. There, 19 teenagers who had been selected for Geared for Life took over responsibility for a vegetable garden which provides fresh food for the school’s kitchen.
"To appreciate the sheer scale of what ORT South Africa is doing, each year tens of thousands of people benefit from the skills training and job placements, business support and educational enhancement ORT provides,” noted Alan E. Klugman, Executive Director of ORT America. In addition to being a vibrant and relevant organization, ORT SA is demonstrating daily that poverty can be tackled and meaningful lives can be built,” he added.