Here are a few stories from the women entrepreneurs who are being trained in digital tools in the district of Alwar in Rajasthan. The unique theme in this month’s stories has been the focus that the Digital Sarthak trainers have kept on the importance of building confidence in women. All the trainers have emphasized on the need for women to become independent, confident and successful.
Location: Untwal, Alwar
“My name is Sanju and I am from Untwal village of Alwar district in Rajasthan. I am not well-educated and in my free time I do knitting and sewing work. Me and other women in my family are not allowed to go out of the house, moreover we don’t even have mobile phones; only the men in my family have mobile phones. Before I met Poonam Bai I had no idea about digital access; she came to my house and told me about the importance that digital tools hold in our lives today. She also told me about Digital Empowerment Foundation, the organisation she is associated with as an entrepreneur. She told me that the DEF has introduced several digital literacy programs in our region. I enrolled for the training programs and have been part of six sessions until now. I have learnt how to use smartphones and how to do mobile banking. I convinced my family to let me use a smartphone at home as well and now I also use it for entertainment- I watch news on YouTube. I didn’t know how to read or write so Poonam told me about Google Assistant through which I can give voice commands. I use this method to gain a lot of information and seeing me the other women in my house also feel motivated. Because of Poonam, I am now able to operate a smartphone today. I didn’t have any idea that it had so many uses, I thought it was only for making calls.”
Location: Untwal, Alwar
“My name is Sonam, I am a resident of Untwal village in Alwar district of Rajasthan. I do household chores and also run a small clothing store. I had a small mobile phone earlier, but I didn’t know much about mobile phones. I met Poonam Bai, DEF’s digital sarthak and she told me about the various digital literacy initiatives that the organization has in place for women. Under this program I was identified by Poonam as a trainee to receive digital literacy training. So far I have been in six training sessions wherein I have learnt about calling, connecting WhatsApp, running YouTube, searching on Google, removing photos and videos, and how to talk to customers. I also helped my husband by taking this training, as he also did not have much knowledge about mobile phones. So I taught him as well. I do not make online payments because I have a small shop in the village, so here the customers pay by cash. Me and my husband are very happy because earlier we didn’t even have a smartphone and now we use it without any problems. We use it to earn money, learn new things and also to pass our time by watching YouTube videos. I have learnt how to converse using a phone, how to sell and market products online, how to do market research and much more and while Poonam did initiate the process now I am able to do all of these things by myself as I have become comfortable with digital devices.”
Name: Rekha Devi
Location: Morodkalan, Alwar
“My name is Rekha Devi and my village is Morodkalan. I am a mother of two children and I live with my husband, children and parents-in-law. I am a housewife and in my free time I engage myself in sewing work. I didn’t know that mobile phones had features other than calling. Vidya ji guided me and taught me to use a phone and now I am so good that I can do it all by myself. After receiving digital training from Vidya ji I spent more time with her and she instilled courage in me to speak more. Earlier I was reluctant about talking to outsiders and would get nervous about going out alone but spending time with Vidya ji has helped me gain confidence. Along with me many other women in our village have learnt about digital tools and how to use them to reach out to more people.”
Location: Hadoli, Rajasthan
I was a housewife and earlier I used to do sewing work on the side. I didn’t have much knowledge about the world outside my family nor did I know anything about digital technology. Reena ji taught me how to operate a smartphone so well that today I do all the work myself. Reena ji asked me to spend some time with her and I observed the way she would speak to people- I wanted to become comfortable in my interactions with people and so I closely observed her for a long time. Slowly I started feeling more confident about myself as Reena ji mentored me and made me believe in myself. Along with giving us knowledge about digital tools and their functions, Reena ji has helped me and so many women in my village overcome their fears and express themselves freely. I never used to think that women could express themselves so freely but interacting with Reena ji and the other women in this program really motivated me to step out, express myself and become more confident.