“My father works as a machine operator at Royal Enfield and all through my childhood our family has faced severe financial strains. I had to take up part-time jobs all through college. Today, I work at R.R. Donnelly as a quality controller and earn close to Rs. 12,000 every month,” said R. Divya brimming with a sense of accomplishment. She is one of the students from the Adi Dravidar community who was not only given training in 2-D animation and web designing by the Tamil Nadu Adi Dravidar Housing and Development Corporation (TAHDCO), but was also placed in a reputed organisation through the programme which concluded last November.

Distributing offer letters, course completion certificates and the International Adobe Certificate of USA to a batch of 100 students recently, Minister for Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare N. Subramanian, said that they would like to start such programmes in other parts of Tamil Nadu such as Madurai, Coimbatore, Salem and Tiruchi as well, and impart skills to 500-1000 students a year. Students who have undergone the training have been placed in companies such as Cognizant, Wipro and HCL and their pay package ranges anywhere between Rs. 4000 and Rs. 11,000.

R. Vijayandran, A. Vimalraj and R. Nagalakshmi, were the first in their families to pursue graduation. And with this certificate programme as an add-on, they seem confident about their future prospects. Even if she could not always afford going to a theatre, Nagalakshmi says, she enjoyed watching movies with animation and special effects on television. “When I heard about this course from my college authorities, I immediately applied for it.”

Sponsored by TAHDCO, and trained by the Global Institute of Gaming and Animation (GIGA), which is part of Everonn Skill Development, the 100 chosen students came from families whose income levels were below the poverty line.

Of the 100 students who underwent the training, 50 per cent of them have been placed, and 36 students have completed the Adobe Certification programme.

“It is important to observe that 80 per cent of the students who enrolled for the programme were girls.

This programme aims to shackle the digital divide that is there between India and Bharath. Most of these students lived in small towns, and suburbs and travelled close to 60-80 km to attend classes,” said A.M. Thimmiah, CEO, Everonn Skill Development.

Discussing the challenges of training students with no computer background, Peter Sebastian, Head, GIGA said that most students had never even held a mouse before. “We had to start from the very basics and had to teach most of them how to operate a computer. When they completed the six month programme, they knew how to work on Flash and Photoshop,” he said.

TAHDCO imparts skills training in several areas including heavy vehicle driving, apparel manufacturing, and nursing to SC, ST, and SC converted to Christianity candidates.

Keywords: digital divide

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