RLabs sponsors R3 million plus worth of bursaries

South African Reconstructed Living Lab (RLabs) has given 800 scholarships with the collective value of almost R3 million (US$255,329), targeting youth, females and unemployed Capetonians.

“At RLabs we believe embracing, equipping, educating and empowering our communities are key to driving positive change,” Marlon Parker, RLabs founder, told HumanIPO. “We’ve seen how thousands community members aged between 13 and 92 have come together since we started the academy programme and what the power of access to information can do in the lives of people.

“We also proud of the fact that 64% of participants in our academy are women,” Parker added.

Divided into four categories, 15 different programmes have been sponsored for the selected target groups.

The selection of courses include social media introduction, Web publishing, startup and entrepreneurship workshops.

Project management, photography and events management are some of the abilities that course attendees will acquire.

From Geeky Moms, to Social Media Teens and Ideas Generation, the array of programmes are aimed at equipping South Africans with skills to earn on their own by keeping up with the technological revolution and also contribute to their communities in a positive way.

“These courses will empower individuals to become entrepreneurs, employable, and social conscious leaders, who will transform their communities and other sectors,” the RLab website states.

Set to open on February 4, 2013, the RLab academy courses will run until approximately November 3, 2013, with the average course duration 16 weeks.

Initially offering an estimated 470 scholarships, an additional amount were added to increase the number to 550, of which 145 were allocated to the GROW Academy.

Another 250 opportunities for course funding were also opened at the Jozi Hub, in Johannesburg.

“At RLabs we believe that education is so important that it is a tool that can transform our communities. And therefore we have committed ourselves to invest in communication because we  believe it is through that investment that we see hope again in the lives of people,” Parker said.

“All I talk about now is technology,” Suzanne, one of the co-facilitators at RLabs, commented in the promotional YouTube video.

She explained how her life changed because of RLabs: “I see life differently now,” the 2012 RLab graduate stated.

“At RLabs we believe that there are no barriers to learning, there are no barriers to education and that is what RLabs is about,” Parker added.

Cape Town RLabs funded 80 percent of their scholarships and was assisted by partnerships with USAID, DG Murray Trust, Mxit, GetSmarter, WooThemes, Web Growth, GivenGain and Silulo Technologies for the rest.

RLabs is a registered social enterprise that initiates solutions for community empowerment.

Globally connected to the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia, South America and Africa, the main hub is in Athlone, Cape Town.

RLabs was also one of the key role players in the launch of the first Technology and Incubation City in Somaliland in November, HumanIPO reported.

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