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By 20 July 2009 | Categories: news

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Providing computers to rural communities or schools poses a number of serious problems; the initial cost of the hardware and the software not the least of which. Power, connectivity, maintenance and secure housing for the hardware are all issues that need to be addressed as well.

A South African ICT company, Hawkstone iSolutions based in Centurion, has come up with a rather unique solution to this combination of problems- a privately sponsored turn-key iLab.

A prefab building that looks a bit like a shipping container, Hawstone’s iLabs are transportable computer/communications centres. These self-contained units can literally be packed on a truck, dropped off at a specified destination and assembled within days of an order being placed. The labs are 49m² units that house 24 learner stations each with a fully functional PC and an educator’s station. The educator’s station serves as a network administrator and server, and is supported by a printer and rear display for demonstrations.

The first iLabs in the country are sponsored by Saab South Africa and will be piloted in Mathulamisha High School and Moishepo Secondary School, both in Limpopo. \"The donation is set to highlight the company\'s continuous involvement in uplifting underprivileged communities and to cultivate relationships with leaders in these communities,\" said Riaz Saloojee, CEO/President Saab South Africa.

According to Florence Musengi, Head of Communications and Public Affairs for Saab South Africa \"Saab prides itself in partnering with communities that strive to empower themselves through technology related initiatives. By donating Hawkstone iLab classrooms through a private / public partnership, we acknowledge our commitment towards sustainable rural development and continue to encourage the communities to participate in educational programmes which focus on ICT.\"

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