Written by Mohd. Irfan Khan
Edited & Translated by Malavika S
Published on: Feb 3, 2023
Stories of Samarth SoochaPreneurs have a unique characteristic of balancing the needs of the society and their own lives in a kind and efficient way and thus emerge out to be good examples of social entrepreneurship.
Samarth SoochnaPreneur program, where rural people who are differently abled are trained to be digital entrepreneurs, has become successful on every front. It has been able to provide digital services and awareness to the unconnected society whose welfare depends on it and at the same time empowered the lives of those who were disempowered by the norms, limitations and standards set by the society. The key to the success stories of this program can be primarily attributed to the important qualities that Digital Empowerment Foundation looks for in a social entrepreneur. Across the country, the SoochnaPreneurs are picked in such a way that they show entrepreneurial skills of optimising on the available resources and a passionate drive to serve the society either because of the wisdom from their own sufferings or their sensitivity towards empathetic circumstances.
Sadikul Alam is a Samarth SoochnaPreneur from Uttar Chachandaro, a village in Murshidabad district, about 300 kilometres from Kolkata. He lives with his mother and five brothers. For a person whose disability doesn’t even allow him to sit, Sadikul has managed to provide every digital service that his village requires just by powering through the day standing at his centre. The centre is named ‘Razia Xerox and Computer Center’ after her niece, Razia, who lost her mother when she was 10 years old. Sadikul’s sole purpose currently is to run the centre, provide services and teach Razia whom he is raising on his own.
Sadikul is still baffled at the fact that a computer, laptop and a printer can alter the course of one’s life with new rays of hope and a support system. He was a little worried initially as he was not accustomed to using a computer. But he eventually learned to work with it with his brother’s help. Now, he provides computer education, digital services, accurate and timely information on government schemes at his centre. He has also begun to book plane tickets which has increased his income. Since his new enterprise has taken root, Sadikul has been able to earn five to seven thousand rupees more than what he used to and at the same time made life more comfortable for people around him.