Concerns around the digital divide in India have plagued policymakers for decades, but the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has only added to the urgency with which these concerns need to be addressed. During the pandemic, many students have been unable to attend school due to the transition to digital learning. Many workers have been laid off and unable to find suitable job opportunities due to the lack of digital skills. Women, in particular, are harder hit. They now have additional childcare and household responsibilities, and are also unable to convert their skillset to apply for technical or digital jobs.
With a keen sense of urgency, Sripriya Singh, a bright and motivated class 11 student from Delhi Public School R.K. Puram founded the Cl!ck Foundation, a digital literacy project for women in collaboration with Kalpataru Society. Sripriya, in collaboration with the Society and APT Portfolio Private Limited, created a community computer lab in Pooran Nagar, Jewar, Uttar Pradesh. This lab is equipped with 15 computers with WiFi cards, a portable laptop, and 15 data cards that are able to support the machines at the center. The goal of the lab is to allow and encourage women in the region to have free access to the marvels of digital technology. Becoming well-versed with these technologies enables them to stay connected with the world, and also brings more job opportunities within their reach.
She also organized an online fundraiser as part of her efforts, and was able to raise INR 1 Lakh. These funds have been used to purchase laptops, desktops, CPUs, and internet cards for the computer lab in Jewar. Thanks to the Cl!ck Foundation, the internet has become available for the first time in locality Today, women visit the lab on a daily basis to explore the endless possibilities of digital technology. Sripriya also used these funds to facilitate the computer learning course for a local woman, who has become the first Masters graduate in the village, and wishes to take on the responsibility of imparting computer classes in the lab.
A young student like Sripriya has successfully identified the gaps in rural and semi-urban areas, and sought to fill these gaps using her resources, knowledge, and dedicated effort. In her thoughtful, committed, and successful efforts, she has opened doors for many others. The computer lab comes at an opportune time when the new Noida International Greenfield Airport, is being constructed in Jewar. Women who learn basic computer skills in the Cl!ck lab, can apply for entry-level employment opportunities and make their way into the workforce. Capacity training can begin with a Cl!ck, and it is young social entrepreneurs like Sripriya who want to make every click count!