Somti Gathiya, a resident of Raipur village in Betul district of Madhya Pradesh, was a facilitator of a SHG supported by a local NGO called Pradan. She was extremely fond of the NGO’s wors and dreamt of handling bigger responsibilities. However, a middle school dropout, Somti deemed herself under-qualified to ever pursue her dream. A year ago, when she came to know about an integrated digital resource centre being run by DEF in her village, she was delighted. She could see an opportunity knocking on her door but she was terrified to even touch a laptop.
After receiving basic digital literacy and wiith regular counseling and capacity building sessions, Somti gained confidence to take up the responsibility of managing the centre. Her keen interest in learning computers paved way for her towards entrepreneurship.
Today, Somti is not only well versed in important applications like Microsoft Office Suite and the use of Internet but she has also taken charge to provide digitally literacy to villagers. Villagers no longer need to travel to the nearest town for even the most basic digital services such as getting a photocopy or passport-size photographs because Somti provides all these digital services, and more, to the village at affordable costs. She also often looks up fabric designs and patterns to share them with her sister who is a tailor.
Somti has also been engaged in conducting door-to-door mobilisation activities, besides arranging awareness meetings with ASHA and Anganwadi workers. Her vision is not only to see the every villager as a digitally literate individual but to digitise villagers’ important documents and meeting reports of various SHGs. She envisions her village as a Smart Village.
Somti’s curiosity and dedication to learn computers has made her one of the best women entrepreneurs supported by DEF in the village despite being the least educated in the group.