Project Surya Kiran

Digital literacy is now taking a whole new meaning in rural India. Edimpact is playing an instrumental role in imparting ICT skills to the unprivileged children through it’s project ‘Surya Kiran’. Project Surya Kiran was 1st launched on September’ 2018 in Ranchi and later expanded to pan India.

We have devised a mobile computer lab which is powered by solar energy and does not even require conventional electric supply. Maruti EECO vans have been redesigned to a mobile computer lab, which can accommodate 6- 7 students, equipped with 5 laptops, one demo machine Internet connectivity powered by 1KVA solar invertor.

Rural India is deprived of Digital Literacy due to lack of trained professionals, unavailability of infrastructure, power supply coupled with tough terrain of interior villages. The digital divide is increasing due to lack of proper training on digital literacy to rural youth, which in turn results in improper and unproductive use of the Internet. This practically do not contribute to the Internet being utilised positively in the developmental process. Therefore, the concept of Project Surya Kiran is derived from the real issues of digital illiteracy in the Indian villages.

Story Behind Start

Imagine living a day without using the internet, a smartphone or a computer. This is an era, where an increasing part of our daily lives—from buying groceries and medicines to depositing money into your bank account—is dependent on your levels of digital literacy.

Be it a simple phone call, sending a WhatsApp message, booking a cab, paying bills or booking a railway ticket, a person without the knowledge of the basics of digital literacy will find himself helpless.

Despite the urgent necessity of such literacy, what we find today is a digital divide in remote and rural India perpetuated by lack of physical access to ICT, low overall literacy levels, poor economic status and inadequate awareness.

Addressing this concern alongside the government is Edimpact, an ‘education empowerment’ organisation founded by entrepreneur Mr. Sanwill Srivastava, which formulates unique learning programs using the latest technology. With a presence in Delhi, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Bihar, the Edutech organisation’s objective is to make education accessible to all by delivering knowledge in a simple and affordable manner.

Rural India is deprived of digital literacy due to lack of trained professionals, unavailability of infrastructure, shoddy power supply coupled with tough terrain of interior villages. The digital divide is increasing due to lack of proper digital literacy training, which in turn results in improper and unproductive use of the internet. The concept of Project Surya Kiran (Ray of Sunlight) comes from the real issues of digital illiteracy afflicting Indian villages.

One way by which they are fulfilling their objective is by imparting information and communication technology (ICT) skills to underprivileged children in rural India through its Project Surya Kiran launched in September 2018 in Ranchi, Jharkhand, which has now expanded to other states including Bihar, Meghalaya and Karnataka.

How we are imparting the ICT Skills?

We have devised a mobile computer lab which is powered by solar energy. Maruti EECO vans have been redesigned into a mobile computer lab, which can accommodate six to seven students, equipped with five laptops and a demo computer with Wi-Fi connectivity powered by 1KVA solar inverter. The system has a power backup of six to seven hours, when solar energy is not available.

Running these mobile labs are ‘facilitators’, engineering graduates, employed by Edimpact, who pre-assess knowledge of the students and based on it are taught across different levels. The content is developed in house by expert educators under the leadership of Manwill Srivastava, the Deputy Director of Content and Training. Lessons include learning the basics of operating a computer, working with Windows 10, Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), internet browsing, emails, cashless transactions and cyber security, among other basic facets of digital literacy.

Of course, none of this happens without a partnership with the government and local communities. We consult social workers, community leaders and schools, brief them about our project and its benefits and they connect us to villages and schools. We also consult with the District Educational Officer (DEO), seeking their permission to impart our training exercise. Once it is approved, they give us a list of schools and help us get in touch with them, following which our mobile lab moves to the location with our expert Facilitators. Since the project is funded by CSR initiatives, we do not charge a single paisa from the school/community or students and in return we provide training sessions. This mobile facility is beneficial to the schools which lack infrastructure, trained facilitators and electricity.

Most students trained under the Project Surya Kiran are first generation learners. They learn at their own pace like their counterparts in cities studying in better environments. “We have come across schools where the school has the infrastructure but due to lack of awareness or apathy, their machines were not utilised. Educators are happy that they are empowered with ICT now, they know how to use it in their daily lessons,” With greater access to learning comes better economic opportunities later in life. What the Project Surya Kiran is doing is offering children in rural India a chance at a better future.

2 Years of Success Experience

8

Global Location

4

Successful Projects

1,692

Educator Empowerment

4,973

Student Empowerment

Impact of Project Surya Kiran

Project Surya Kiran has played a vital role in our school by strengthening the basics of our students in computers and the internet through their mobile solar computer lab. First, the trainers assessed the computer knowledge of each student and prepared a syllabus. After dividing the students into two levels depending on their levels of digital literacy, they gave us a three-hour training session. Students learnt basic things like how to operate a computer, typing, file creation, internet browsing, use emails and cashless transactions, etc.

Mr Ayappa

Headmaster, Government High School in Wadgera village, Karnataka

The classes were conducted in a solar powered mobile computer lab. The lab itself was an attraction and the innovative way in which it was set up helped the school to function smoothly. There was no interference with the normal functioning of the school

Mr Josh Jose

Principal, Khliehriat Higher Secondary School, East Jaintia Hills, Meghalaya