From Slums to Search Engines

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As the name suggests project e-Drishtikone is founded on a vision to uplift marginalized children living in the slums by educating them on modern technology. It is a program run by a Kolkata based NGO Treasures of Innocence (ToI). The children are taught the importance of incorporating technology in the contemporary world and are trained to use computers and various software programs. This knowledge will empower them. It will open up doorways to a plethora of opportunities for them to have a strong foothold on their careers to secure a better future for themselves and their families. 

This four-month long digital learning initiative is for the slum children in Garia, Kolkata, West Bengal. The process of this project is fairly simple. The first step entails conducting a need assessment to estimate computer literacy prevalence rates and understanding the mindset and need of e-learning practices among slum children. The next step involves promoting awareness among the families regarding the importance of digital learning. Only after the base has been built among the children and the adults, the activities begin. 

Community mobilizations and counselling sessions for parents and children are conducted to alter their mindset towards computer learning. After which computer learning practices commence using creative learning intervention frameworks to improve the technical skills of the children. Groups are formed with group leaders to ensure productivity and motivation to reduce dropouts and improve peer-to-peer learning. Capacity building of team members is also undertaken to support the children in their erudition to get a deeper involvement in the computer learning program.

Community mobilization through sensitization of community members is also present to keep up the motivation of the children. The children are kept engaged in different creative projects, educational tours, distribution of learning materials, health kits, food and refreshments along with learning the basics of computers.

Consultations with resource persons and volunteers of renowned IT companies and Educational Institutes are maintained throughout the project for constant improvements in the curriculum, classes for better participation and a joyful learning experience. Support from partner NGOs, patrons, other corporates and media is a crucial facet for keeping the children’s and the team’s spirits high through the course of the project. Mapei India has partnered with Treasures of Innocence for their CSR activities and has contributed to the funds for making project e-Drishtikone a reality.

At the end of the project, the aim is for the children to have enhanced skills in digital learning and an augmentation in creative thinking and deeper engagement. The key takeaway here for the children is to change their outlook towards IT and understand its importance to secure future job opportunities. This year’s program started on 3rd April, 2021 and is ongoing in its efforts to educate the children. 

On 3rd April a small inauguration ceremony was held for e-Drishtikone where IT Industry veterans were invited to address the children. IT major, Mr. Suman Das, Ms. Shampa Chatterjee, an IT professional from a renowned software company and Mr. Devashish Majumder, an IT professional and the president of Treasures of Innocence were in attendance at this event.

The program kicked off with the lighting of Diyas by Ms. Rani Bhowani, Founder and Secretary of ToI, Mr. D.K. Bhowani Assistant Secretary and Mr. Prabir K. Banerjee one of the faculty members. A group of bright students from the Heritage Institute of Technology also joined the session to support the children in digital learning. Mr. Suman Das talked about the History of Computers, Miss Shampa Chatterjee discussed various application areas and future opportunities of computer learning. And Mr. Devashish Majumder gave a short speech on how to use computers for the betterment of society. Baseline study and evaluation were done by the volunteer groups and members of ToI to understand the knowledge level of these first-generation learners.

 Through the enhanced capacity building of team members, systematic evaluation, training, counselling and special attention and care given to each child, Treasures of Innocence strives towards educating these first-generation learners from socio-economic challenging backgrounds on modern day technological advancements to help them brighten their tomorrow. 

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Treasures of Innocence