Do you think the internet makes your life easier? What if you didn't have access to it anymore? Would it change anything? Of course, yes! Our lives mostly, if not entirely, depend on online facilities, and we cannot possibly imagine our lives without them. The reason being, they simply make our lives easier. From paying the bills to confirming your admission to a college, all can be done online. Unfortunately, not everyone has that privileged access to these facilities.
We often talk about the countless perks of the internet—it has brought the world closer, created jobs, and transformed the way we think about all things ‘digital’. But what about the flip side? People belonging to the weaker sections of society are deprived of these things, and while they have access to the internet and social platforms, they tend to get roped into cybercrimes, often unknowingly.
The reason? Lack of confidence, inadequate educational history, poor reading and comprehension skills, and lack of exposure to new technology are some of the major challenges rural India faces when transacting or interacting online.
The digital world is the key to gaining knowledge, acquiring skills, creating contacts, and developing one’s personality. When approached right, the youth of rural India can benefit from all aspects and in turn, help end this cycle of poverty. The problem at hand is that they need quality education on cyber security and digital literacy and that is where the Giving for Good Foundation and the IDEA Foundation come into play. The E-Sakshar programme helps unlock opportunities for the marginalized because everyone deserves a chance at a better life.
The problem is threefold—lack of awareness around cybercrimes, fear of the unknown and not being able to leverage digital media to step out of poverty. The rural parts of the country deserve special attention since they face issues with accessibility and lack of knowledge of the avenues available. There’s fear amongst people, which forces them to stick with their traditional methods of living.
It's easier to implement cybersecurity than to deal with cyber-adversity. Through the IDEA Foundation, GfG initiated the E-sakshar campaign in 2019, in Pune, Maharashtra, to empower communities and break down barriers. Engaging workshops, basic computer literacy, sessions to develop skills that can be monetized, and seminars have been initiated under the National Digital Literacy Mission Scheme (NDLM). Basic computer skills like Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint and many more are taught in person and our skilled trainers make sure no difficulties are left unsolved.
Our approach focuses on a blend between online and offline classes. We aim to empower people belonging to marginalized sections of society by equipping them with the right skills and knowledge so that they can make the most of the digital world.
This year, we aim to assist 200 beneficiaries become digitally aware, including people of all genders and age groups. The IDEA Foundation’s year-long campaign will help:
Spread digital awareness
Educate on cyber security
Encourage the use of digital marketing to help aspiring female entrepreneurs establish local businesses (weaving, pottery, switching, tiffin-system, and so on).
In the previous years, E-Sakshar used simple and effective ways to spread awareness, which enabled our students to access a wide array of information. We ensured that we got through to our individual students by communicating with them in a way they would understand, not only in language but in passions, interests, and motives. Even through online classes, we ensured that our students were engaged and looked forward to learning. This attests to our belief that with a little bit of encouragement and a nurturing environment, we can achieve digital literacy to help a precious and afraid community. All we need is a little kindness and some willpower.
E-Sakshar has helped marginalized women understand and adapt to the advantages of using their mobile phones. Earlier, use of mobile phones was restricted to simply receiving calls. After rounds of workshops and other lessons, they have now successfully learnt how to use the internet to book tickets online, pay digitally, submit admission forms online and attend their child’s school meetings. Small steps like these eventually add up, boost their confidence, and help them explore better opportunities.
We encourage you to donate to this noble cause, not because you should, but because you want to. The donation, although a small step, creates an impact much bigger. With this cause you contribute towards a Digital India, which creates an advanced future for all of us. All you need is empathy and a few clicks and we promise that 100% of what you donate goes to educating the needful. The question is - Do you choose to do it?
Promoting Digital Literacy and Cyber Security Awareness Among Marginalized Children, Women and Men