By Natasha Reuben, Head of Transformation at Dell Technologies South Africa
As transformative as technology can be, it is ultimately people that are the true source of real value and meaningful change. This is particularly evident in an empowered youth who are critical to a positive future.
In a digital era, the more technology aligns with human potential, the more likely it is that people will be able to realise their greatness and drive human progress.
As South Africa celebrated our youth during June, these concepts remain very topical. Home to the largest and fastest-growing youth demographic in the world, Africa is poised for positive change. But unless our new generations are empowered through technology, that potential will not be fully realised.
I believe in that potential because I can see it resonate from the students that we support through the various initiatives and projects we run at Dell Technologies. Some of these include bursaries and learnership support for students. One such initiative is the Dell Development Fund, that has been providing South African tertiary students with the financial backing to cover study fees, accommodation, living costs, laptop and other living expenses.
Two of these students are Rosemary Masenamela and Sibongokuhle Pretty. Both are working towards becoming Chartered Accountants - Rosemary is in her post-graduate stage, and Sibongokuhle recently started her studies. Neither were born with social advantages, but they are ready and eager to make a difference.
Both women have big dreams. Rosemary looks forward to having a successful corporate career where she can also give back to her communities. Sibongokuhle is already thinking about starting a business for reusable sanitary towels, after she gains experience in a corporate career.
There are many such students in South Africa. The dawn of democracy didn’t only change the country. It created an infusion of hope and responsibility that resonates among these young people and new professionals who are eager to make their mark and build a better South Africa.
And we are very humbled to be able to support them. It is true that, as a corporate citizen, Dell Technologies has a responsibility to provide such support. We have set the goal that 50% of our programmes will support women, girls, and underrepresented groups. But we make sure it’s not only about checking the boxes of social responsibility. It has real meaning for everyone involved, and when we hear how our contribution makes a real difference, it brings so much significance to what we do every day.
The students we support have told us of their hardships, of poor townships, single parents, and growing up knowing the odds are against you. I could share those stories, but I would rather celebrate their success. These students do not just succeed because we offered them a bursary and a laptop. The real success comes from within them.
Rosemary and Sibongokuhle are examples of that spirit and ambition. By helping them, I know that making a difference matters. As we celebrate youth, let us not forget about their spirit, their vision, and their dreams. If citizens, corporate or otherwise, have any responsibility, it’s to help make those become real.