When Rukmani Gurjar was chosen as an Internet Saathi, she expressed immense pride in being given this opportunity to empower other women like her. Dedicating majority of her time in this project, she laboured for this to be successful by trying to involve as many women as she could. Recalling her experience when she started, she shares, “When I started working with these women, I encountered a sense of motivation within them. Young girls dreamt of a world with opportunities, opening up for them through the internet and illiterate women wanted to become self-reliant – they didn’t want someone else’s assistance to make and receive calls. They all told me to teach them everything I knew!”
Soon enough Rukmani was assigned three other villages along with her own village, which led to her facing problems in transportation. In spite of these road blocks, her commitment towards the cause is commendable. Determined, she stepped out of her comfort zone, and tried to work across all the assigned villages. She says, “I had committed myself to this cause, and I intended to give it my best. I completed all my targets on time and ensured the quality of the work. I did not disappoint myself!”
She recalls how the initial days of visits to the villages weren’t easy. The women were hesitant to interact with a complete stranger about a topic that they had no knowledge of. However, with continuous rapport building, and talking about the importance of smartphones, she was able to gauge the attention of the women. The most challenging part was to teach illiterate women, however, the efforts did pay off eventually. Rukmani came up with new ways to teach them on how to operate a smartphone, helping them to identify features and functions not through the letters/words, but using colours and symbols. Suddenly, the women found themselves not being dependent on anyone to use the basic features of smartphones.
Talking about how this initiative has helped build her confidence as well, Rukmani shares, “I have completed my work with integrity and sincerity, and I am proud of myself. I now believe in my abilities more than before, and am sure that I will complete any future work with even more vigour and commitment.”