A digital literacy initiative, launched by IT for Change branch Prakriye, is empowering adolescent girls in Mysuru district's Attiguppe village.
All of 13, Nirmala P is brimming with excitement. “My brother and sister are in college, but they both don’t know how to use computers. I’m still in Class VIII and I’ve learnt how to use a computer and a camera,” she gushes.
Nirmala is one of the 85 girls from Attiguppe village in Mysuru district of Karnataka who underwent a year-long digital training under the capacity-building project of a Bengaluru-based NGO, IT for Change. The project, Dhwanigalu (Kannada for “sound”), was launched last year in March to empower adolescent girls in rural Mysuru.
The project, Dhwanigalu (Kannada for “sound”), was launched last year in March to empower adolescent girls in rural Mysuru
It augurs well for the village, where the female literacy rate, according to the 2011 census, is 62.62%, lower than the state average of 75.36%.
It is also helping fight social ills like child marriage, which continues to be a norm here.
Komala N, 18, a second-year pre-university student from the village, says she has seen many child marriages but did not know it was a social problem until she saw an informative film on the topic on a tablet provided by the NGO. She says when the girls were asked to take a tablet home and show a video to their family, she selected the one about the ills of child marriage.
The video helped change her grandmother’s outlook on the matter. “I got married when I was a little girl and my daughter (got married) at the age of 13. After watching the film, we decided we will let Komala study and get her married only after she completes her studies,” says 65-year-old Rathnamma R.
“I got married when I was a little girl and my daughter (got married) at the age of 13. After watching the film, we decided we will let Komala study and get her married only after she completes her studies” — Rathnamma R, a grandmother
As for Nirmala, she keeps following up with the panchayat to enquire when the roads will be fixed.
President of Attiguppe village panchayat, Rajamma M, lauds her persistence and adds that liasoning with the rural development and panchayat raj department for road repairs is under way. “She keeps coming to the office to ask about the status of the repairs. Everyone in the village should learn from these girls,” she says, adding the girls’ will to be involved in governance in heartening.
Anupama Suresh, one of the teachers who helped execute the project with Prakriye, says their biggest challenge was to get the girls to participate. Initially, no one wanted to send their daughters for the training, but now parents themselves ask when the new sessions are starting.
While this project is bringing about social change in the south, another NGO in Haryana has been doing the same with elderly women, giving a boost to women’s empowerment, one click at a time.