Senior citizens often face troubles with using technology. Some struggle to download new applications, and others even to send a simple text message. Fourteen-year-old Tanvi Arvind’s grandparents found themselves in a similar predicament.
In 2018, Tanvi, a resident of Chennai and student of Class IX, was visiting her grandparents in Bengaluru during her summer break. That’s when she noticed how they were struggling to send a message through their smartphones, which they found to be too confusing. So she took it upon herself to help them navigate their phone.
“I taught them all the basics — from unlocking the device to opening an application, typing a message, using voice dictation, and even adding events on the calendar. In the end, they were very happy and thankful that I had taught them patiently,” Tanvi says.
The same year, she attended a 25-day event organised by Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA). “It was after this programme that I gained the confidence to start my own business. I decided to offer coaching to senior citizens on how to use their smartphones and named the venture TechEdEn,” says Tanvi.
Helping residents across Chennai
Once Tanvi had an idea about what she would teach, she asked friends and family to spread the word. “I did not advertise through social media, because my target audience were people who did not know how to use the internet. To my surprise, many people got in touch with me and requested help for their parents or grandparents,” Tanvi says.
Accompanied by her sister, she would personally visit the client’s homes. She would charge them Rs 500 for an hour’s session, and if they were in a group, she would charge Rs 300 per person. She would focus on whatever the clients wished to learn, which usually entailed how to send messages, download apps, or stream videos.
Tanvi says she has not decided how she would spend the money, but has been saving most of it. In 2019, she reached out to 68 people through in-person classes, and in 2020, she taught 25 people through online classes.
“For the online classes, I had to change my teaching pattern. Since everything was happening virtually, over zoom calls, I started to teach them how to make video calls, mute themselves, turn on the video, and send video call invites,” Tanvi says, adding that she even taught some citizens how to order food and groceries online.
‘A patient approach’
G B Patankar (81), a resident of Bengaluru, was one such person that benefitted from Tanvi’s online classes during the lockdown. He says her patient approach towards teaching him how to use Zoom was remarkable. “Thanks to Tanvi, I was able to join a zoom call hosted by my nephew, and participate in a group call. Through the lockdown, I was able to stay in touch with my siblings and colleagues. Her initiative is deeply appreciated, and I had recommended her to other colleagues who needed help learning such technology,” he says.
For now, Tanvi has taken a short break from teaching seniors, owing to her incoming annual exams. But during the holidays, she plans to resume her service, either through in-person teaching or online classes, depending on the COVID-19 situation. Apart from that, she is also working on a handbook with shortcuts on how to navigate through smartphones for the citizens she has already taught.
Tanvi says, “This way, after my class, if anyone has doubts, they can just refer to the handbook.”
To get in touch with Tanvi, you can reach out to her through her website.