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IT education is often given the go by and restricted to theoretical knowledge in remote village schools – this is because there is no electricity to run the computers in the first place. Brother and sister Amit and Sejal Dsouza decided to make a difference and created, structured and conducted an independent IT Training Program for Sunbird partner schools. Called “Dhwani” – Echoing dreams through Education – the program aimed at introducing disadvantaged children to technology, giving them a window to the world. Through this intervention, they hoped to create an awareness of basic technology and to enlighten children about possible careers in Technology.
While Amit, a software Engineer took a break from his company in Singapore, Sejal, an IT Project Manager flew in from Mumbai. They received a “warm” welcome, landing at Imphal in the midst of a raging local agitation and even had to spend a night at the airport before they could be extricated. During their ten-day stay, they dodged curfews, bandhs and agitations while dealing with language barriers. Infrastructure limitations – lack of electricity, mud roads that doubled their travel time, an intermittent mobile network and no internet access – all added to the challenge.
Most of the students who had attended the program had never worked on a computer in their lives, far less on the internet or on smartphones. Sejal and Amit trained nearly a hundred teenagers from across the state at different locations. One capsule was with HIV positive school children at a Sunbird partner Home at Churachandpur.
The response to Dhwani was most positive as this turned out to be an eye-opening experience for these children, most of who were from an agricultural background. By the end of the program, a number of children expressed their interest about careers in Science and Technology.
Sejal, who is now in the USA and Amit, now plan for a return trip …….