A soft voice greeted me on the phone with a ‘namaste’. Voices can be deceptive, I soon found out; as the telephonic interview progressed, the steely resolve in Kapil’s voice was unmistakable.
Kapil, a resident of Nangal Mubarkpur, Haryana, is currently pursuing his final year in Bachelor of Computer Applications or B.C.A. from a college in Sohna, and was introduced to the world of computers when he was in class XII. “Learning knows no age. ‘Better late than never’: I believe strongly in this adage,” he says. He describes his first introduction to the computer as surreal. “I thought the computer was a mini television set. Much to my surprise, I discovered an entire new world encompassed within the software and hardware,” adds Kapil.
The Digital Literacy Program, which was launched about six months ago, introduces the computer and its most important applications to students through a ‘learning by doing’ methodology. The initiative, started by the Sehgal Foundation in partnership with Oracle, is an endeavour to introduce the basics of this important tool to the innovators and decision-makers of tomorrow. “I remember switching the computer on for the very first time. It seemed like a magical box; then came the training on various hardware components. Software tools such as MS Word, e-commerce and so on were introduced thereafter. I used my training especially for the cause of farmers: procurement of medicines for diseased crops, seeds, fertilizers etc. via e-commerce. Besides this, the amount of information one has access to via the internet is mind-boggling. It can open a Pandora’s box of options, opportunities and solutions,” says Kapil.
During his semester breaks from college, Kapil works in a multi-national company. He plans to complete his B.C.A. soon and then seek gainful employment in the IT sector. He wants to, however, give back to society the benefits he has received by mentoring students, especially those who have cleared their higher secondary education and are set to venture into the ‘big world.’ “In the village, there are a number of children who have either not completed their senior secondary education, or just do not pursue further studies post completion of school. I feel my job is to motivate these children to work hard, complete their graduation and get a good job, so that the world opens up a gamut of opportunities for them”, adds Kapil with resolve. According to him, being dependent on anyone is disadvantageous; and why should one be dependent he asks, especially when the government offers diverse schemes for the greater good of society, and there are NGOs like the Sehgal Foundation that work tirelessly for the cause of good rural governance.
It brings to mind a famous quote: “Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.”
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