We often joke about how ‘kids these days’ are born knowing how to operate smartphones. This may be true for a small minority of the privileged, but there still exist millions in India for whom even a desktop computer is an unknown, and daunting, barrier.
And for such folks, the barrier is beyond Netflix or Facebook. In our increasingly inter-connected and digital world, such barriers prevent them from earning a livelihood and separates families from one another.
That is precisely what happened to Manjula, from Chikballapur in Karnataka. Her husband’s earning alone could not support her and her daughter, so she was forced to send the child away to a free hostel. But a free computer literacy course by READ changed everything. Today, she has a job and keeps her daughter at home.
A small example, but reflective of the massive changes such courses can trigger.
Reaching out to over 42,000 people, READ India is an organisation that believes in empowering rural communities to alleviate global poverty. And they do so by establishing Community Library and Resource Centers across the country. In 2016, READ India started a rural community development programme to provide jobs to women from rural Karnataka, in association with Accenture. Over two years, the programme made a place for itself in more than six states across the country.
The initiative provides training for life skills with a focus on self-confidence and gender sensitisation; and work skills such as sewing, stitching, computer skills, local crafts, reading and writing. Through training in these areas, the initiative ensures that the women are employable and can earn a livelihood.
As a result of this collaboration, READ India is receiving periodic mentoring sessions with the senior management team at Accenture. These are done either in-person or via telephonic interactions. These sessions have proven to be of great use, and they help motivate the centre to achieve more.
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