For residents of the remote Dondapadu village in Suryapet district, till a few months ago, a computer was just another gadget meant for students and the educated. At the most, it was a tool to watch movies and be perplexed by the myriad applications that their kids use for entertainment and work.
But in a short span of six months, the computer is now a part of their life and a tool that helps them understand agriculture, banking and even access the world beyond their village. This change among the 218 people of the village has occurred, thanks to the Digithon Digital Village initiative that was taken up by the Telangana Information Technology Association (TITA).
The village was adopted by a California-based non-resident Indian (NRI) Annapareddy Appi Reddy after a call was given by TITA to adopt their villages and take them into the digital world. As part of the programme, 218 selected villagers were given basic computer training that equipped them to conduct digital transactions and be financially literate. The team selected participants who did not have access to a smart phone and trained them, said Digithon chairman and TITA president Sundeep Kumar Makthala.
He says the trained villagers can now write emails, make bank transactions and browse the web.
The team selected to train them in programmes that interested them. They were introducing to E-Sage, an agriculture knowledge platform developed by the IIIT-Hyderabad, where they could learn new methods of farming and understand the market to sell their produce at apt prices.
While the TITA team provided ground level support, Mr. Appireddy oversaw the financial aspects like identifying the trainers and providing them transport over the six-month period. Mr. Makthala said more than 40 NRIs responded to their call to adopt their villages under the Digithon programme. Mr. Appireddy called the programme a great achievement and said it was a matter of pleasure to digitally empower his village. “The success of Dondapadu would inspire other villages and NRIs,” he hoped. He also distributed certificates to the villagers who attended the digital literacy classes.
TITA vice-president Ranapratap Bojjam, spokesperson Venkat Vanam, Pradeep Nilgir, Shivashankar Margoni, Sravan Bhanavarapu, Ben, Vamsi, Pilli Srinivas, Hari Babu, Venkatram Reddy Mettu, Shekar, Rajeshwari, Rajashekar and others were part of the team.