Bhopal: Somti Gathiya, 43, a resident of Raipur village in Betul district, dreamt of working and earning like an officer and not a farmer.
Gathiya, a school dropout, knew that her dream will not be fulfilled unless she is “computer-literate” so she enrolled for a basic computer course.
Today, as a woman entrepreneur, Gathiya is well versed with computer applications like MS Office and the use of internet.
She has also taken charge to make villagers digitally literate, create their e-mail addresses and provide digital services at an affordable cost to them.
There are scores of women like Gathiya in Betul, Balaghat and Hoshangabad districts of Madhya Pradesh who not only access their bank accounts online but also check government schemes and programmes for rural development on the internet.
The community information and resource centers (CIRC) set up by Pradan–a national level voluntary organization–provide certified courses that teach rural women to operate basic computer operations.
“The programme was started in 2014 to make online public service delivery portals and employment opportunities available at the door step for the village community,” says Souparno Chatterjee, an , executive at Pradan.
Vinita, who goes by one name, says they had a computer in school but they hardly got to work on it.
“The district college where I studied commerce did not have computer education. Finally I got hands on training a system at the CIRC and now I am well versed in MS Office and can browse the internet with ease,” she says.
She now is researching for post graduation degree in computer application on the internet and has a social media account.
Asked about challenges faced by volunteers in executing the programme, Chatterjee says, “Most rural women are not literate and support from families is another concern.”
The CIRC also conducts classes in schools, where teachers were initially reluctant to let volunteers us use the school space to run the programme, says a volunteer.