Tata Trusts and Google India have collaborated to launch ‘Internet Saathi’ programme for rural women in India. The programme seeks to empower women in rural areas to use the internet benefits in their daily life. The programme will provide women with basic training on how to use the internet through specially designed internet bicycle carts.
Built on bicycle carriers, these bicycle carts will visit villages in the country. The Internet Saathi or the operator will help train women in the areas. The bicycle carts will visit villages of India twice a week for six months. With the help of the carts, it will create awareness amongst rural women and will ensure they get adequate training so that they can use the internet enabled devices on their own.
When the training is completed, these carts will visit other villages and will train women on how to use internet enabled devices. Not just this, local NGOs and groups will also be involved to training the women in these areas.
The Internet Saathi programme will kick off from Gujarat, Rajasthan and Jharkhand. The programme will cover around 4,500 villages and around 5 lakh rural women across the villages in India over the next 18 months.
Tata Trusts said, “Philanthropy in India has changed over the years. In the olden days it was conventional charity. India is a nation that has changed from what it was 60 years ago. Today, people demand self-respect, access to knowledge and have an urge to enhance their livelihoods and the Tata Trusts are committed to help them do so by making a difference to their lives,” and applauded PM Narendra Modi’s ‘Digital India’ initiative. “I’m glad he decided to give so much importance to the fact that India should be a digitised nation.” He further said: “The Internet brings tremendous power to people by not only bringing all of India to them, but also connecting them to the rest of the world, enabling more progress in the future. The Internet will also help enhance the reach of commerce to all parts of the country.”
Speaking about the initiative, VP and MD of Google Southeast Asia and India, Rajan Anandan, said, “While women make rapid progress on adoption of Internet in urban areas, women in rural India are left behind. Today only 12% of Internet users in rural India are women. We need to technologically empower women in rural India to truly transform their lives. We are delighted to partner with the most respected and well-known Tata Trusts who have years of experience in managing programs of this scale. By combining our strengths, I am confident that we can achieve great results and overcome the challenges of providing easy access and digital education to women in rural India.”