Striving for Equity in Digital Access

Be it learning online during the current pandemic or earning by taking classes for interested groups of people, a digital device has the potential to completely transform the lives of many.

Priyanko Sarkar studio18 November 15, 2021 19:50:35 IST
Striving for Equity in Digital Access

In today’s inter-connected world, access to technology is often the only barrier between success and failure. This is true especially for those who belong to financially weaker sections of the society who might have dreams and aspirations to do great things but can’t realize their potential because a lack of access to devices like smartphones and tablets may prevent them from accessing opportunities to learn and grow professionally.

Be it learning online during the current pandemic or earning by taking classes for interested groups of people, a digital device has the potential to completely transform the lives of many.

However, a stark digital divide exists across India. From education, to access to healthcare and finance, the barriers are high for low-income communities. The pandemic further highlighted this digital divide. While some have transitioned smoothly to a digital-first world, many are still left behind.  The education system especially faced a new crisis, with millions of students forced to drop out of schools.

The humanitarian community and non-profit organizations are at the forefront of responding to this rapidly escalating crisis. They too, face unseen hurdles brought about by the pandemic. Whether it was surviving various lockdowns or arranging required materials for their those who depend on them, it’s been difficult work trying to source and organise even daily essentials at the peak of the pandemic when stringent lockdown measures were put in place.

Sumit Tayal, COO, GiveIndia could not have put it more clearly by saying that the “digital divide has widened further in the last 18 months and that millions of disadvantaged students cannot afford the digital devices they need to continue their education”.

According to Anshu Gupta, Founder Director of Goonj, a two-decade-old NGO, their organisation has also been creating simple, easy ways in which anyone can pay back to the society, make a difference to someone while also extending the life of things which would otherwise end up harming our ecology.

Goonj is one of the NGOs that has tied up with Amazon India’s Delivering Smiles initiative that aims to bridge the digital divide in the country. Through the Delivering Smiles initiative, Amazon India will directly give, and facilitate contribution of digital devices among students and young people from marginalized communities, and aim to contribute to the digitization goals of India. Amazon will directly provide 20,000 digital devices to underprivileged young people, in partnership with over 150 large and small non-profit organizations, impacting over 100,000 students across India. Additionally, millions of Amazon customers can contribute in cash on Amazon Pay or give their old mobile phones that will be refurbished and distributed to provide digital learning devices for young people.

Safe, affordable and reliable access to devices and internet is one of the most effective ways to empower the youth from marginalized communities to build the foundations of education and digital literacy.

It is going to be particularly difficult to offset the loss of learning and lost school years but we must rally together to allow for equitable access of digital learning devices for students across the country.

Join hands with Amazon India’s #DeliveringSmiles initiative, give your old phone or contribute in cash to empower the youth with a brighter future.

 

 

This article is created by studio18 for Amazon India.

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