Camphill School gets computer lab

The CSSA and the Papillon Foundation have opened up a new world for these intellectually challenged learners.

Wednesday, 6 April, was a momentous day for the learners of Camphill School, near Hermanus, in the Western Cape. It marked the official opening of its brand new computer lab.

Thanks largely to the generosity of the Computer Society of South Africa (CSSA), together with the Papillon Foundation, the school is now the proud owner, for the first time in its 61-year history, of a computer lab.

Camphill School is an independent Section 21 school for intellectually disabled children, aged between six and 18. Of its current 52 learners, more than 80% are from local, disadvantaged communities, where the parents are able to pay little or nothing in school fees. The fees, together with a small subsidy from the Western Cape Education Department, account for less than 40% of its budgetary requirements. Just surviving is a challenge, let alone acquiring luxuries like a computer lab.

Thanks to the tireless commitment and enthusiasm of Mike Chiles and Moira de Roche, both members of the CSSA, the ball was set in motion to create this wonderful opportunity for the children of Camphill School. They mobilised the CSSA, together with the Papillon Foundation, to make a dream come true.

The Papillon Foundation provided 10 refurbished computers, and the society paid for additional security for one of the school’s classrooms, converted for the purpose, as well as carpeting, workstations and the necessary cabling to make the lab fully operational. Cecil Nurse completed the picture with the donation of 10 chairs, while Overberg Computers supplied mouse pads and headsets.

The last piece of the puzzle was the installation of software by CAMI, which has been especially designed for the education of learners with special needs. The software is on trial for six months, and if it lives up to its promise, will continue to enrich the lives of the learners for a long time to come.

These special needs educational programs will open up a whole new world of experience for the learners, and give the teachers an additional teaching tool for the development of the children, most of whom respond particularly well to visual stimuli. One can barely imagine what the lab will mean to those learners who are unable to communicate through speech, but who may now be able to do so by means of a computer. For them, it will be like breaking out of prison.

Additional computers donated by the Papillon Foundation will enable the school to put at least one computer in each classroom as well. So, 2013 will see Camphill School, its teachers and learners step into the exciting world of cyber space together. Its donor friends can’t be thanked enough for this wonderful opportunity!

(as published by ITWeb


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