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Taking e-literacy to the forest dwellers

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A NEW WORLD: An adivasi woman gets a feel of the computer at a training session organised by Akshaya Mission in Kuttampuzha panchayat.
A NEW WORLD: An adivasi woman gets a feel of the computer at a training session organised by Akshaya Mission in Kuttampuzha panchayat.

Staff Reporter

KOCHI: For 65-year-old Chinnayan, who spent the better part of his life deep in the forest in search of livelihood, sitting in front of a computer screen and playing a game was nothing short of magic.

Chinnayan, the head of Muthuvan community in Variyam, a hamlet within adivasi-dominated Kuttampuzha panchayat, perhaps heard of computer for the first time when a laptop wielding activist from Akshaya Project came calling in his hamlet as part of spreading e-literacy.

For Mathai, the Akshaya activist, the experience was as exhilarating as it was exciting for the tribal community in Kuttampuzha.

He travelled through the hamlets of Variyam, Kunjhippara, Thalavechuppara, Therakkudy and Uriyanppetty in a week introducing the world of computer to about 500 tribal members.

“They were at best confused on first seeing the computer. It took a while to make them comfortable with the computer,” he said.

Creating awareness

Aged women clad in traditional adivasi attire were attracted to the monitor as images and colours flickered through it.

The ‘box-like’ thing in front of them raised many a doubt in them.

While some confused it for a television, some others felt that it was some sort of a music box.

Since the purpose was not more than creating awareness about the very ‘existence’ of a machine called computer, Mathai and his assistants did not go for big things but concentrated on simple things like attracting them to the computer through games.

A game of catching mangoes, in which mangoes drop from the tree and the user had to catch them by moving the mouse that turns into a basket, hooked them, he said.

Another game of thwarting the efforts of a fox to catch a hen was also a hit. Simple games like these, which they could relate with in their real lives, helped the cause.

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