Address by Nelson Mandela at the Eskom Development Foundation IBM handover, Johannesburg

11 March 2004

It is a great honour to gather here today to mark and celebrate the partnership between a number of organisations that have the welfare and development of children at heart.

The Eskom Development Foundation has partnered with computer giant IBM to improve the lives of grade R kids in rural areas. The move has seen IBM donating KidSmart computers to schools across the country.

The IBM KidSmart Young Explorer Programme was started by IBM in 2000. The initiative is driven by the Centre for Childhood Development; and it has seen grade R and primary school kids learning the art of using computers at an early age.

The training part of the programme is coordinated by the Centre for Early Childhood Development whose director Eric Atmore has indepth knowledge for childhood development.

IBM has been working very closely with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and with Eskom and this partnership sees the continuation of this kind of partnership towards early childhood development in rural areas.

We are grateful to IBM for the generous contribution made to the schools that have received these KidSmart computers.

One of other equally important partners is Eskom which continues to supply basic electricity that makes installing these computers an easy process.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation’s programme for rural school development is proud to be associated with this joint venture partnership. A nation’s future is only as promising as its next generation of citizens, and we commend you for investing in the future of our young ones, by providing children in rural areas with greater access to information technology.

I thank you.

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation