Empowering Dreams: Educational initiative bridges the digital divide in India

In the heart of Bawana, an industrial suburb of Delhi, 16-year-old Nazia dreams of becoming a lawyer despite the challenges of growing up in a slum with her parents and four siblings. 

Nazia’s pursuit of education faced obstacles as her family lived below the poverty line. As the eldest, she was the first of her generation to access formal education. 

“I used to dream of touching a computer keyboard like other children in my class,” says Nazia.  

“It used to be a dream for me to be able to touch a screen, I didn’t know what it would feel like, because no one in my family had ever touched a smartphone.” 

Nazia’s wish to learn how to use a computer 

A turning point in Nazia’s life came when her family, struggling to make ends meet, became part of the Family Strengthening Programme (FSP) – initiated by SOS Children’s Villages Bawana – during the COVID-19 pandemic. The programme provided essential support, including dry rations to combat starvation and a tablet for Nazia and her siblings to keep up with their education during lockdowns. 

Nazia’s family faced health problems as well. They live next to an industrial drainage canal carrying harmful chemicals and, in the slum, there’s limited access to basic amenities, like clean water.  

A lack of employable skills also restricted her father to low-paying manual labour jobs. 

However, with the support of the FSP programme, the struggling family of seven were able to turn things around. 

Breaking the cycle of unequal opportunities 

SOS Children’s Villages India’s Digital Learning Centre programme has played a key role in addressing this challenge. Across the country, more than 700 children, including Nazia, have developed digital literacy through the initiative, offering a pathway to equal opportunities. 

Tears of joy express how the schooling and digital literacy has benefited her family. 

“When I witnessed my daughter using a computer at the centre for the first time, I couldn’t hold back my tears,” Nazneen says.  

“It was unbelievable to see my child, born into our illiterate family, confidently working on a computer like wealthy and educated individuals. The moment overwhelmed me, and I couldn’t stop sobbing.”

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