A group of women in Jharkhand’s Ramgarh district, which grapples with Left-wing extremism (LWE), ride through villages spreading awareness about internet use, in what is a first of its kind initiative in the state.
Backed by Nari Urja Sangh, an NGO, 35 women have taken it upon themselves to educate villagers, most of whom have primary-level education and are vulnerable to internet fraud.
“These areas are all LWE-affected. However, our volunteers are braving the odds for the cause,” said Agneshiya Purtu, a member of the NGO based in Churchu, a block in suburban Ramgarh.
The area has a population of over 40,000 and a high number of internet users, particularly the youth. The project, therefore, aims to empower all villagers with the pros and cons of the Web, in addition to information on farming and government schemes.
The women, popularly known as Internet Sathi (friend) by the villagers, carry tablets and smartphone to demonstrate what they teach. They inform them of government schemes available online so the villagers don’t have to travel to the state capital or the district headquarters for the same.
The Internet Sathis also spread awareness among farmers so they can better price their product and improve yield.
“We help farmers to know the market rate of their products. We inform villagers which crop should be cultivated...(for a) bumper harvest, and how farmers can get crop insurance at minimum rate,” said Radhika Kumari, a volunteer.