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Apr 13, 2010

Power Community Rallies to Bring Books to Impoverished South African Students

By Evelyn Hoover

Many of the readers of this blog rely on books and other media to keep their skills fresh. But if you had to make a choice, how many of you would buy books instead of food? I'm willing to bet not many. But that's just what a dedicated group of learners in South Africa was willing to do.

In response to the need for IBM i and RPG skills of some key clients in South Africa, IBM sent an instructor to the area to work with the clients to develop the needed skills. That project led to the IBM Academic Initiative partnering with South Africa's Vaal University of Technology (VUT) to provide an instructor, equipment and facilities for youth from disadvantaged backgrounds who were interested in working on IBM i and AIX systems. Many of the students used their small travel allowance to buy the required books and went without food in some cases.

When Marinus Van Sandwyk, founder and CTO of Tembo Technology Lab and COMMON Africa volunteer, discovered that some students were willing to forgo food to spend their money on textbooks, he knew he had to help. Rather than go it alone, he sought help from the generous Power community.

Van Sandwyk appealed to 29th Street Press and MCPress to provide a set of textbooks and establish a lending library so the students can check the books out as they take their classes. Both publishers provided deep discounts and the authors of the textbooks donated their royalties to further decrease the cost. Finally, the Wisconsin Midrange Computer Professional Association user group donated some funds to help defray shipping costs.

"This is a great example of the entire Power community coming together to help increase skills," says Linda Grigoleit, worldwide program manager, Power systems Academic Initiative, IBM.

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Comments

Please accept our sincere thanks for the exceptional way in which the authors and relevant publishing houses rallied to this cause. It was amazing to have witnessed the incredible response by all involved.
You have no idea how significant and life changing your efforts are/were.
Thanks!!
Marinus

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