2023 Social Entrepreneur

Thembiso Magajana of Social Coding SA

Research by Amnesty International has shown that a child’s access to quality education in South Africa still depends on their birthplace, socioeconomic status and skin colour. This inequality underscores the need to adapt education to the demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Thembiso endeavours to bridge the digital divide.

She started Social Coding to provide her young niece with a safe space to nurture her interest in technology. ‘I soon realised that this was bigger than just my niece and our back yard. I wanted every young girl to have this space that grew their curiosity.’

Social Coding SA had its official launch in July 2017. This non-profit digital skills training organisation recruits, trains and employs young people from rural areas to teach digital literacy and coding at high schools. The aim is to use tools like coding, robotics and virtual reality to create opportunities for young people in rural communities.

Social Coding SA has equipped about 400 young people and 6000 learners in rural areas with digital skills, empowering them to become mentors and trainers in their communities. The results speak for themselves: these young people have reported increased confidence, improved education outcomes, and newfound hope among those they’ve reached.

 ‘Within the next three years,’ Thembiso says, ‘we aim to expand to 1 000 rural schools across South Africa, extend our reach to four SADC countries, and train and employ 14000 unemployed young people as facilitators.’

She dreams of a future where every rural young person has access to digital literacy training and employment opportunities. ‘To achieve this, we need to strengthen partnerships, leverage technology and advocate for policies that prioritise digital inclusion and gender equality.’

Thembiso says that winning this award will provide Social Coding SA with a platform to attract more partners and funders, raise awareness about the urgent need for digital inclusion, and kick-start the for-profit arm of Social Coding SA. ‘By creating a sustainable funding model, we would secure the future of our non-profit initiatives and ensure the continued empowerment of unemployed youth from rural areas in South Africa.

For more information, visit https://www.socialcodingsa.com/