Slum children clicking their way to dreamland
FORGET ABOUT operating a computer, only some of them were fortunate enough to know the word till recently. However, a few sessions at desktop has changed all that. Now, these kids from a slum cluster move mouse deftly. Like an old hand. They run mouse the way they want to—as a pen and paint brush to give expression to their dreams. They make mouse dance to their tune, so to speak.
Children and teenagers from Durga Nagar and other slums near the Regional Research Laboratory (RRL) are undergoing computer training. Teachers find their grasping ability and talent amazing.
Ankit, a student of IX, has been coming to the centre for the last couple of days is fast enough to learn most of the basic applications and loves painting on screen. “I am learning MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Photoshop, sending emails and surfing the net,” he says ebulliently.
“Our aim is these children get exposure to computer so that they don’t feel lacking in any aspect when compared to middle-class or upper-class children who study in public schools,” says Sanjay Tiwary, project coordinator of Samvedna, an organisation that has been running free computer classes for children living in slums.
| Simple but profound|
"MAIN GHARIB parivar se hoon, ham jahaan rahte hain wahaan sthiti kaafi dayneeya hai, log shaayad wahaan aana pasand nahin karte…" (I belong to a poor family and the locality we live in lacks basic amenities so much that people don’t want to go there…). Simple and yet meaningful words straight from a child’s heart. That is how Geeta Kumari, wrote about herself and her dreams at a writing competition on Monday. "We are poor, I want to study in a good school but my father doesn’t have enough money to pay the fees. At home I can’t concentrate as people drink a lot in the locality and fights break out at the drop of a hat. I want to become a nurse," writes another girl, Pooja, in beautifully written Devanagari script.
“For middle class and upper class kids computer is just like a toy as their parents can afford to buy it unlike slums where even basic reading and writing paraphernalia is not easy to get for children,” adds Tiwary.
Almost a hundred children come to classes being run at Narayan Nagar and Durga Nagar. Apart from learning basic computer functioning, the children have access to library and indoor games. They also learn to play music instruments.
Drawing, essay writing, creative writing and other competitions are held regularly to give the children an opportunity to express themselves. “The students feel that once they are familiar with computer it helps them gain confidence, which in turn helps in personality development.”
“We can make our bio-data and sent it on email to websites that offer jobs, says Pooja, who studies in XII. Even after course, the students can come to the centre and those interested in pursuing advanced courses are given the opportunity through other institutes.
| ‘Samvedna’ running free computer classes for children living in slums near RRL
Learning MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Photoshop
Girls seem much more enthusiastic about learning. “Computer seekh lene se heen bhavna khatm ho jaati hai (Learning computer puts an end to the inferiority complex),” says a teenaged girl at Samvedna.
For a fresh batch, nearly 200 applications have come from Bagh Sewania, Durga Nagar, Meera Nagar, Ekta Nagar, Anna Nagar and nearby slum localities.