by The Colourboard
An initiative to provide computers to the underprivileged school students has been taken up in rural regions of Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. The digital literacy program is a collaborative effort by Ambedkar Association of North America(AANA) a charitable and cultural organization formed by Ambedkarite people in America, a California (U.S.) based activist and clinical researcher Ms. Renu Kundal, Uplift Trust Chittoor, Victory India and SWAEROES team.
Currently eighteen computers were made available in the Kaminayanapalli, Thiruvanampalli, Chigarapalli, Setteri, Mattapalli, Kilikiripalli, Thirumalayyagaripalli, Bommayapalli, Gandhi Nagar, Setteri, China Settipalli, villages of district Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh.
The program has been coordinated and executed on the ground by Mr. Mahesh Swaero, founder of Uplift Trust and district president of BSP.
"Speaking to Mr. Mahesh Swaero from Chittoor where we had sent donations to feed the migrant laborers, we came to know that kids in the region are unable to access education," said Ms. Renu Kundal.
Ms Renu approached AANA and decided to help the children in the rural region who come from underprivileged backgrounds and hence were not able to access education due to the schools being shut during the Covid-19 pandemic.
It has been more than 5 months that the schools are closed. Since mid July, many schools have started taking online classes. Teachers and students join online classes through the internet, either from laptops or smartphones. But what about those children who yet do not have access to such equipment, even if it has become very common today, that ‘it's not a big deal to have a smart phone or Internet’, specially in the urban settings.
Like other developing third world countries, India too is trying to become a digital nation. Government is running campaigns of ‘Digital India’, Smart City; but is it really working in the direction to make it available in the interiors, where people are deprived of even the basic amenities? Is it working for ‘how the Digital India program will be executed in rural India?’ Or how the socially and economically marginalized communities will access it? Are they not India? Where the majority of them are still fighting for the basic literacy issues, is there any program for 'Digital literacy' run by the government at first?
After Food clothing and shelter, education too is the fundamental need of a human, perhaps it is the only way to change your entire condition from being dependent for the three basic needs on someone, to earning these for self and living a life with dignity. Education has changed generations. Well, for such students to get back to education again, who were already suffering for their basic needs of food during the terrifying situations under lockdown amid Covid-19 pandemic, this initiative has definitely boosted their confidence to cope up with the changing lifestyles.
Organisations such as AANA understand the value of education for the underprivileged marginalised communities, hence even after settling down in other countries, they have been doing their duty of ‘Pay Back to the society’ as told by Dr. B R Ambedkar who gave the right education to every single citizen of the country in its constitution and thus made a revolution.
“We all are very happy to receive a computer from AANA. It is the first time in our village that we saw a computer, we all are very much eager and excited to learn, attend classes,”
P. Dhanush, a student of Second standard, staying in Y.S gate P, Irala M, Chittoor district.
K. Revathi, a 10th standard student from ZPHS Puthra Mandi, E.K.N.Palli village, Irala mandal, expresses her joy about the program by saying,
“We are so happy about ‘Digital Literacy Program,’ it gives us a motivational spirit along with confidence about our studies, we all were almost 5 to 6 months away from studies because of Covid-19 Pandemic. Our studies are zigzagged. Now this Digital Literacy Program gives a new boost to us. It is being very helpful to develop our computer knowledge day by day, I'm sure this program gives me more confidence in my future studies. Mr. Mahesh has been guiding us to be updated and creative to achieve our goals. We are Thankful to the donors and Mahesh sir.”
Another child M Laxit, studying in first standard in Thiruvanampalli Village expressed,
“My father and uncle told me that they learnt computers during their graduation, PG and faced so many challenges. I'm learning computers at my first standard. We are very confident that we are going to achieve the best in life and the future is ours. Thank you so much AANA, UPLIFT Trust and Victory India for the greatest opportunity."
After this positive response and success of the Digital literacy program in the above-mentioned villages of Chittoor, the donors have decided to expand this initiative to other parts of the district soon.