Internet is a tool of change for many Internet Saathis who are touching lives in present day’s digital reality. Catalysing the process of growth and development, the internet is not only affecting the urban population but also is bringing in the desired change within the lives of many women who are residing in rural pockets of the country. Babli’s story is a source of inspiration for many women who, with basic know-how of the Internet and digital tools, can now earn a sustainable living and are learning new tricks of trade everyday with the help of informative audio-video tools.
Babli, an ever enthusiastic Internet Saathi, shares “There has come a lot of change in my life with the coming of the Internet. The money that I am able to earn today is due to this technology of Internet which I had not even imagined in the 22 years of my life
“I did not know how to use the Internet rather I was scared of using it. I felt that if by mistake I end up clicking a wrong button my money would be stolen or my personal photos would get viral. These were the stories I had heard from the people in our village,” she recalls how difficult it was to adapt to new digital ways initially. She shares that her husband first started using a touch pad phone.
“The Internet Saathi project has helped me overcome my fear. I used to practice after our trainings. I started enjoying watching cricket along with my husband on his smartphone. We started looking forward to these moments in our lives”.
Not just Babli’s, association with the programme has revolutionised numerous lives.
“Initially it seemed like a battle to understand the Internet. As I started using it, I realised in no time that I developed a liking towards it and started spending my time exploring the web. I learnt to make calls, create videos, and take photos. In fact, I downloaded WhatsApp and was able to create my own account in it!” a Saathi from Madhya Pradesh said.
“One fine day I accessed YouTube! It was like a magic box! I found videos on tailoring. I knew the basics of tailoring before-hand. However, when I came across tutorials on how to create more intricate designs, I started practicing the same in my spare time,” she later on joined a training centre nearby to take up a vocational training course on tailoring.
Today, along with her work as an Internet Saathi, Babli is running business from her home where she makes and sells bags and decorative items. She buys the raw materials for Rs. 100 and sells the end product for Rs. 200 thereby gaining a profit of 100. She gives the credit to the Internet. “I would soon start learning the skills to be a beautician,” she added.
Babli has also managed to involve her brother and sister-in-law in her business and they are also earning a decent living out of it. She says “A monthly income of Rs.6000/- is what we are able to earn through my tailoring bag business. Honestly, I had never imagined in my life here in village that I will be able to financially contribute towards my household expenses. I don’t have enough words that I can gather right now to thank the project team for making Internet not only available to women like me but also ensuring its accessibility”.