Youth in rural villages become Sakshyam
Chandan’s family of four owned two acres of land, which was not enough to support them. His father leased out the land to cultivate tomatoes, but due to heavy rain and crop disease, he had a loss. While Chandan was attending the Project Sakshyam (meaning capable) classes, he learned about the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bhima Yojana crop insurance scheme that provides financial support to farmers whose crops have been destroyed. He informed his family about the scheme, and his father took the necessary steps to apply for compensation. With the help of the gram panchayat, his father was able to avail the benefits of the scheme.
Chandan received this knowledge as part of the six-month digital and life skills awareness course running in his school in Rajenahalli village of Kolar, Karnataka. With support from Guru Krupa Foundation, S M Sehgal Foundation provides Digital and Life Skills Awareness courses that give youth skill sets to transform their lives so that they can participate more productively in the development of their village. Two hundred young people across the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Maharashtra have been part of this transformative journey for over one year and have had many wins and learnings that contributed to making them informed citizens.
Digital India is a flagship program of the Government of India (GoI) that envisions transforming India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. With proper direction and a conducive socioeconomic environment, individuals can become an asset to their community and nation, especially adolescents, who hold the future in their hands.
The Digital and Life Skills Awareness curriculum has given youth an opportunity to learn about digital devices, fundamentals of MS Office, website browsing, use of email communication, and use of search engines to gain needful information such as examination results, admission forms, job opportunities, and details of government programs, among other things. The life skills awareness curriculum focuses on the development of social and emotional skills and knowledge about government programs, rights, and entitlements. These topics help youth to develop a positive peer culture, build their self-confidence, share their experiences, develop their decision-making abilities, and understand the functioning of village-level institutions.
From handling digital devices for the first time ever in these classes to being able to use the newfound knowledge to avail public services, youth are finding their individual agencies that contribute to their families, village, and society.
S M Sehgal Foundation is an Indian NGO focused on rural development with its head office in Gurugram, Haryana.
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