Kickstarting the Digital Revolution: Tech Mahindra Volunteers in Mumbai lead the way
We’re trying to kickstart a digital revolution! It’s impossible for us to imagine our lives today without email or apps. Access to email and bank accounts are necessities to us, but to many young students at our Tech Mahindra Foundation SMART centres, they felt out of reach.
Thanks to over 80 volunteers from Tech Mahindra Limited and Tech Mahindra Foundation’s Mumbai team, a small digital revolution is just getting started. On the 4th and 7th of March 2017, 84 volunteers from Tech Mahindra Ltd. helped SMART students and alumni go digital at 9 SMART centres across Mumbai. From being off the digital map entirely, within a few hours, over 390 SMART students and alumni emerged armed with bank accounts, email addresses, apps to scan their documents and operate their new bank accounts and of course, Facebook accounts to show off these new skills.
“Our day began by visiting Tech Mahindra Foundation SMART Centre to teach students creation and usage of email accounts, social media platforms, cloud storage and bank accounts. To be presented with such an opportunity was like a breath of fresh air in our daily routine. We were still doubtful about whether these students may need knowledge from us pertaining to social media and use of applications in a world where internet has reached every corner…but we realised …it’s still a dream to be accomplished by them.” says Vidhi Sony and Priyanka Nair, Tech Mahindra Ltd.volunteers.
Our volunteers patiently helped the students to open email accounts and to use Google Drive to store their files. They also taught the students to open Facebook accounts and added them to the newly created TMF SMART centre Facebook groups.
Also supporting this drive were branch managers from Karnataka Bank Ltd. The branch managers spoke about the importance of having a bank account and helped the students open their own accounts. In fact, we are happy to say that of the 390 plus SMART students and alumni, 299 opened accounts! Those with the minimum balance will receive access to debit cards, cheque books and more facilities. Crucially, many of these students also chose to sign up for insurance coverage provided by the bank.
With these basics in place, the students were then shown how to make good use of the apps on their phones. Apps like Cam-Scanner are extremely useful to quickly scan documents and share them such as offer letters, appreciation letters and more. Thanks to BHIM, they can check their bank account balance and carry out transactions.
The volunteers also spent time impressing on them the need to maintain security and privacy on the internet. “The entire initiative was just as useful to us in understanding and socializing with people outside the social media just as much it was for them understanding social media. We hope our contribution goes a long way in helping more underprivileged students.” says a Tech Mahindra Elitian.
Our SMART students are enthusiastic and capable but have not received enough opportunities in life because of their backgrounds. Through our SMART centres we hope to give them the skills to succeed in modern India. As Sagar Mestri, a Tech Mahindra volunteer put it, “It was a very good experience for the volunteers as well as the students, as the students became aware about the importance of digitization and its benefits.”
The total count at the end of the digital drive
Bank accounts registered: 299
Email accounts opened: 352
No. of students who downloaded apps: 243
Facebook accounts opened: 309
Volunteering doesn’t have to be complicated or very time-consuming. Even one afternoon can help make a difference to someone’s life, as our now digitally savvy SMART students can attest to. As our volunteer Vidhy Sony put it, “Finally coming to an end to a stellar day, we were catalyzed with a sense of commitment to carry on undertaking such events in future where we can contribute towards the bright future of our nation. As it’s said “Man maketh society, and society maketh the world.”