Awareness is an important tool for the development of any human being. In our fast-paced and dynamic world, the role of technology is playing an immensely significant role. Keeping abreast with the latest developments in technology is a trend for many, but even the basics are elusive for some due to various challenges.
Since almost 70 percent of India’s population resides in rural areas, development in these areas is vital. An important pillar for development is education and awareness. Teachers share that one of the major roadblocks in implementation of government programs in lack of awareness. Villagers are not aware of their entitlements in different government schemes; however, if the current generation of students are given digital awareness, they can be instrumental in passing this knowledge to their parents, family, and communities.
Digital and Life Skills Awareness trainings conducted under the Transform Lives one school at a time program of S M Sehgal Foundation aligns schoolchildren and youth with the vision of National Digital Literacy Mission. Many of these students have used their technological awareness for meaningful changes in their lives.
Inaam and Masnun open Citizen Service Centers
Trained in the digital literacy and life skills awareness classes held in 2017, Inaam and Masnun from village Nawli were fascinated with computers. The training made them aware about basic computers, internet use, life skills, and government programs in his area. They learned about e-commerce, online ticket booking, and online applications for Aadhar and PAN. After completing the course, both decided to study further in this area and enrolled in a computer course in a nearby Industrial Training Institute. They each hoped that after learning the skill, they would be able to contribute to their family income, which was solely dependent on agriculture. The Citizen Service Centers (CSC) opened by Inaam and Masnun in their village are a one-stop shop promoted under Digital India Mission for people to apply for government programs, seek redressal, and enable better access to the programs.
Two students from the digital awareness center in village Malab were inspired to pursue further computer education. They enrolled in a year-long course in computers at the Maulana Azad Computer Center in Nuh.
Their initiative is much talked about in their village as youth consider them as role models. Their parents are happy to see their sons grow and at the same time be a link between villagers and government programs.
E-labor cards for family members
In village Barota, thirty-two students enrolled in the digital literacy center facilitated by S M Sehgal Foundation. Students learned about computers, life skills, government programs, and internet use. After learning about government programs, especially about labor cards, many students applied for e-labor cards for their family members at the citizen service center.
Gainful employment for Sukhram
Another student, Sukhram, who learned from the digital awareness and life skills center in village Nawli in September 2017, made his career in the same technology stream. After graduating from the course where he learned the basics of computers and internet use, he did a one-year course from an Industrial Training Institute. Since Sukhram comes from a poor family with a father who is engaged as a daily wager, Sukhram took a job as a computer operator in the citizen service center in a nearby village. Now his family has a decent monthly income, and Sukhram’s parents feel proud of him.
Digital awareness and life skills education training is an important step toward encouraging personality and career development, enabling young people with a more conducive environment for widening their horizons.