Making a difference – one computer, one prisoner at a time
By: Anne Naidu & Mosa Sebusi
The Vaal University of Technology is excited to announce yet another partnership. We believe it is with good concern to rehabilitate ex-offenders and therefore the VUT has decided to donate 25 computers to the Groenpunt Prison in order to upgrade their computer centre.
On 23 April 2012, the computers were handed over at the VUT library. Mr Gerrit Du Plooy: Senior Director, Community Engagement explained that the VUT and Groenpunt Prison have developed a very strong relationship that dates back to 2004 when the university donated 13 computers to the prison for the first time. To date, six of the 13 computers are still in use and have also enabled inmates to publish their books. The correctional service officials expressed their gratitude to the VUT and said that the computers will contribute to Groenpunt Prison’s goal of teaching inmates how to be computer literate. Zandile, a senior prison officer said: “The aim is to empower the inmates and my vision is for people to see prisoners as one of the communities within the prison territory. We try to introduce new progammes to help prisoners to survive life after prison.”
Beyond the bars of imprisonment, comes an opportunity to offer a better life to all inmates. The partnership between the Vaal University of Technology and the Groenpunt Prison has given new hope to inmates and the chance of using a computer for the very first time. The prospect of using a computer has given them something to really look forward to. Many of them have never touched a computer before and now through this donation, they will have an opportunity to obtain computer skills.
“Computers were out of our reach. We saw them on TV and wondered how they work, but after today, we have found new ways of getting skills”, said one of the inmates as he helped to carry the computers from the 4th floor of the VUT library because the lifts were out of order. Even though it was pouring outside, they were in high spirits as they left the building with the computers. The establishment of the Prison Computer Centre enables staff to teach inmates, who are able and willing to learn, how to become computer literate.
Anita Hannekom, Snr Prison Official receives the computers as a donation from VUT