Internet Saathi, the collaborative initiative of Google India and Tata Trusts, is ready to launch across 400 villages and shall empower over one lakh women in Purulia district in West Bengal over the next few months, stated Sapna Chadha, head of marketing, Google India. Under this digital literacy program, rural women shall be trained and made competent in using the internet, so that they could derive maximum benefits out of technology. After successfully having covered nine states, the Internet Saathi program shall now be made available in the states of West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Tripura.

The women shall be trained to use internet on smartphones and tablets. Once trained, these women shall later coach other women workers in their villages and neighbouring settlements. Ganesh Neelam, Head-Innovation at the Tata Trusts, stated that this initiative has a ripple effect among the community, and is a continuous, long-term via which these women become more confident in using smart devices. They may use this knowledge to access services like educational resources, healthcare, agricultural assistance, among others. The main challenge, Neelam said, was to cut across the lingual and cultural barriers and to get mobile connectivity into the remotest of Indian villages.

Many women have already come forward with their positive testimonials for this initiative. One such woman is Indumati Mahato, who hails from West Bengal’s Purulia disctrict, came forward saying that after attending a leg of Internet Saathi, she doesn’t fear using smartphone any more and used the Internet to successfully deliver a child in her village by locating a suitable healthcare facility in the neighbouring district of Jharkhand. Mahato now earns a decent remuneration of Rs 1000/- under the Saathi program.

For more details about the digital literacy initiative, please watch-