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Table Mountain Campaign Outreach Program Boosts Internet Access for Township Schools September 16, 2011


The Vote for Table Mountain campaign is empowering underprivileged communities in and around Cape Town by providing a platform to learn about the Internet.

The campaign has generated just under 2500 new email accounts and organisers estimate that by 11/11/11, the date that voting for the New 7 Wonders of Nature closes, the campaign will have introduced 5400 learners to email and opened their eyes to the power of the Internet.

The campaign organisers have teamed up with Reconstructed Living Lab (RLabs), a non-profit organization that equips and empowers communities through technology, and together they are visiting schools and institutions in underprivileged communities and allowing them the use of laptops and Internet access.

Thereafter learners are shown how to vote online for the New 7 Wonders of Nature so that they too can be part of the global election to choose the world’s most wondrous natural sites.

Table Mountain is one of only 28 sites on the planet shortlisted to be named one of the Official New7Wonders of Nature, a contest which aims to attract more than 1 billion votes worldwide.

Each lesson involves students receiving a crash course on the Web and how it works, as well as an explanation of what an e-mail is and why people need an account. Thereafter, RLabs informs students about the Vote for Table Mountain campaign, as well as the other New7Wonders contestants and their countries. Their first interaction on the Web is voting for Table Mountain, allowing them to walk away with an e-mail address and a vote.

Rene Parker, Director of RLabs says: “This group effort has changed the landscape when it comes to youth being introduced to new technologies. This has been achieved with the shared partnership between the Vote for Table Mountain Campaign and RLabs.”

To date, RLabs has done 24 sessions in the Western Cape, tallying 3231 votes and creating 2460 new e-mail accounts in the process. With 4 sessions planned per week until voting closes on 11/11/11, they will amass an estimated 7000 votes in total for the campaign.

And in a show of true activism for the Vote for Table Mountain campaign, Whizz ICT Centre, headed by Tembinkosi Qondela, have also made a significant contribution by turning their facility in Khayelitsha into a voting station. This has allowed many Khayelitsha residents, and learners from schools including Nolungile Primary, to create their own e-mail accounts and become familiar with the Internet and vote online for free.

“The Outreach programs are an integral part of the Vote for Table Mountain campaign that enables us to leave a positive legacy behind,” said New7Wonders Campaign Manager Fiona Furey. “RLabs and Whizz are helping us reach the youth who do not have Internet access. When Table Mountain is one of the 7 Wonders of Nature (God willing) they will have a sense of ownership, knowing it is because they voted and made it happen.”

Table Mountain has a great chance of making it into the final 7, but the public need to continue voting as there are only a few weeks of the competition left.

To vote for Table Mountain SMS “Table” to 34874 at R2 an SMS, or visit http://www.votefortablemountain.com, or vote via Mxit for only 20 cents. If you vote via SMS or Mxit, you can vote as many times as you like!

To vote for Table Mountain, SMS “table” to 34874, or visit
http://www.votefortablemountain.com.