Local mobile phone manufacturer AG Mobile and the Nelson Mandela Long Walk to Freedom Foundation (LWTF) have partnered to try and give 1 million children access to a smartphone or tablet.
The #Freedom2Learn campaign was launched today in Vilakazi street, Soweto, a few metres from the home of Nelson Mandela himself.
The campaign calls on South Africans to donate mobile phones and tablets through the #Freedom2Learn web portal. These handsets and slates will be given to the Long Walk to Freedom Foundation who will use the tech in its school library projects.
“The Mandela library project has been running for quite a few years, and today over 90 000 school children enjoy access to a library everyday,” spokesperson for the Long Walk to Freedom Education Project, Robert Coutts tells us. “We need to take the next step. We need to make sure that when we get these kids literate that they have real economic value in first world economies.”
According to Coutts, less than 50% of Grade 5 learners are literate and this project will help to make a difference.
Alongside the campaign, South Africans will also be able to purchase a new range of tablets and smartphones (and one feature phone) from AG Mobile. The manufacturer will donate a percentage of the profits from the sales of its Freedom range to the Long Walk to Freedom Foundation.
All the products in the Freedom range will be preloaded with educational material from organisations such as the Khan Academy.
“We’ve also approached network operators and are in discussions with them to zero-rate the data used by these apps. This would allow consumers to use these apps for free,” chief executive officer for AG Mobile, Antony Goodman tells us.
These discussions are still ongoing but according to Goodman once an agreement has been reached, an announcement will be made. Below, you can view the new AG Mobile Freedom smartphones and tablets, which will be available from MTN and Truworths next week.