Meet Frederick Swai – Founder of The Dreamer Centre, eradicating Computer Illiteracy in Rural Tanzania
Frederick Swai was born and raised in a rural setup of Mbeya region in Tanzania. At the age of 16 he visited Dar es Salaam where a friend of his first introduced him to computers. Swai was so intrigued by it, and developed a keen interest in computers and their applications. When he returned back to his rural home, his fascination with the computer continued building up, and it is then that he decided to save his money in a bid to buy a computer of his own.
Back in his rural home, the nearest computer services he could access for his printing and photocopy needs was located some 2km (1.24 miles) away from his home. Virtually noone in his neighborhood owned or knew how to operate a computer. With time Swai got his parents to help out in his quest and together with his pocket money saving, Swai was able to buy three computers and started off the Dreamer Centre. With his business, Swai started offering his neighborhood computing and office services like book binding, photocopying and printing. In addition to this, he started offering computer classes using various computer training courses for the youth that utilized educational computer games.
Swai’s idea of starting computer services and training had a significant positive impact on his community, something that was highly appreciated by the Anzisha Price awards which in recognition of Swai’s achievements awarded him a cash price of $1,000. Swai used this cash prize to buy more computers for his startup IT Company and increased the training and services capacity of the Dreamer Centre. This would mean that Swai’s business would serve more customers in need of photocopying, printing and book binding services, in addition to being able to enroll more youth students who want to become computer literate.
This is was Swai was quoted saying recently, “The purpose of the Dreamer Centre was to induce the people in my community to use computers. If you go to my village almost 90% of the youth know how to use computers. I am very proud of that”. This is indeed a significant and innovative business approach that has significant social impact to the youths of Mbeya region of Tanzania, but it has not been all smooth sailing for Swai. His business got burned down by fire that is believed to have started from an electrical fault, which destroyed a good number of his computers and photocopier machines. However, this did not keep him down for long.
Swai got another innovative idea of starting off a new company called New Anointing Computer Technology: which is an IT company offering web designing, networking, data security, applications development and as well as the office services like photocopying and printing that was being offered by his initial company. Out of the profits he makes from his company, Swai is now undertaking a degree in Computer Engineering. Swai is by all definitions an inspiring young entrepreneur, and this is what he has to say to his fellow youths, “Young people should look for opportunities, start businesses and hopefully along the way someone will notice their efforts and offer them support”.
This is precisely what Anzisha Price seeks to do. Anzisha Price is Africa’s premier award for young innovative entrepreneurs from the age of 15 to 22 years, who have a demonstrated or promising innovative businesses or social ventures. Anzisha Price is currently accepting applications for the year 2014, and the deadline for applications submissions will be on April 15, 2014. For more details you can follow them on the following social media YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.