South Africa's journey from apartheid to a leading global economic power and cultural force has been swift and rocky. From Johannesburg's financial clout, to Durban's bustling manufacturing, to Cape Town's vibrant tourism, there's plenty of progress being made around the Cape of Good Hope. Yet, notably, not all areas are modernizing and inequality still looms large.

About a quarter of South Africa's population live on less than $1.25 (USD) per day, and unemployment remains high. Also, a lack of reliable, affordable electricity and technology access hampers many towns and schools.
Solar powered classroom
It is these schools in particular where electricity and technology can drive further progress. Research shows technology and devices in the classroom help students learn more, more efficiently, and improve the odds of children lifting themselves out of poverty — particularly for young girls.

Michael Collins, Dell’s vice president and general manager of emerging markets, initially brought the idea of the Solar Powered Learning Lab to the Dell Giving Team, which leveraged its strong partnerships with nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations to make the labs a reality. From our first lab in 2014, the Solar Powered Learning lab initiative has grown to nine in South Africa, one in Nigeria, and one in Colombia. We plan to add 6 new labs this year, expanding not only in South Africa but also new countries like Kenya and Morocco.

Each Learning Lab, housed in a converted, well-ventilated shipping container, use solar panels to keep power Wyse thin client workstations that use seven watts of energy, as compared with 180 watts for traditional PCs. The new labs also have been built with fresh air-cooled servers, a better solution for hotter climates.
storysphere Bringing technology and connectivity to these students, teachers, and communities opens up an entire world of new skills, knowledge and opportunities.

Get a rare look inside one of these Solar Powered Learning Labs in S. Africa by viewing the Storysphere to the left.

Click on the musical note icons to hear exclusive interviews with the students and others who use the lab every day.

Hear the story

How it works

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