Ethnographic Study Of The Migrant Labourers Through A Life Changing Journey

Lockdown caused by Covid-19 crisis has resulted in reverse migration of unprecedented nature and scale. The situation has given rise to social and economical challenges that has impacted all sections of the society in urban and rural India, and will lead to further deterioration if it is not understood well and addressed collectively. Hence, to understand the ground realities, Digital Empowerment Foundation set up a road trip to conduct an ethnographic study across three most affected states of India—UP, Bihar and Jharkhand. Ethnography is a qualitative research methodology, which is immersive. Read More

COVID-19 lockdown leaves Delhi migrant workers with neither jobs nor social security; experts blame political apathy, lack of legal protection
Lalan Yadav, a labourer living in Delhi's Wazirpur slum, is more worried about his livelihood than COVID-19. Yadav is a migrant worker who hails from Bihar's Arrah. Yadav, He came to Delhi 22 years ago in search of a better livelihood, and now has three children. He lamented, "I have not got any work since 25 March, when the lockdown was announced. Read More
Lockdown leaves handloom weavers hanging by a thread
“We did not even have the money to bring back my father’s dead body from the hospital. I had to borrow ₹4,000 for an ambulance. Read More
Opinion: Inclusive digital financial literacy in a less-cash India
For a decade, with the rapid digitalisation across sectors, we have been talking about digital inclusion and exclusion, but it was only when the Covid-19 induced lockdown came into effect that it showed its ugly face. Read More
Opinion: The future of women's work
When Subarna Ghosh’s husband shared her petition with his friends and colleagues, one of them asked, “You have been troubling your wife so much she had to ask the prime minister for help?" Read More

DEF-USIPI’s Efforts to Assist the Vulnerable
Mohammad Gani is a resident of Aloo ka Taala of Barmer, Rajasthan. His family comprises of his wife and five children. Earlier Gani use to work in the agriculture field but last year he was electrocuted. After a prolonged medication, as per the advice by the doctor, his one leg and a hand had to be amputated, to reduce the infection. Her wife then took up stitching work to help her family but that also came to a halt due to the lockdown. DEF with support from USIPI reached out to them to facilitate them with ration and financial assistance.
Smartpur Facilitates Tele-Consultations for Farmers
The farmers in India are being affected drastically due to the COVID 19 pandemic lockdown and to address the same nation-wide tele-consultations have been initiated. The farmers can place a call for free crop advisory as well as any other information on agricultural related issues that the farmers are facing in these unprecedented times of restricted movement. Smartpur Barabanki team is connecting as many farmers as possible through tele-conference where famers are not only seeking help related to crops but also crop insurance.
Smartpur Team Generates Awareness against Child Labour
The World Day against Child Labour is an International Labour Organization (ILO)-sanctioned holiday first which aims to create awareness to prevent child labour. According to ILO's data, hundreds of millions of girls and boys throughout the world are involved in work that deprives them of receiving an adequate education, health, leisure and basic freedoms, violating their rights. On June 12, 2020 Smartpur Vizag team conducted an awareness workshop on Anti child labour day to educate children and their parents on child rights and how important it is to impart education to the children for their better future.
DEF and EquallyAble Foundation Launches GOAL Samarth
Digital Empowerment foundation with support from Equallyable Foundation, introduced GOAL Samarth with 50 Mentees and 10 Mentors to empower differentially- able youth. The project aspires to connect the mentees with influential urban Mentors. These Mentors will counsel and encourage the differently- abled youth to learn digital and life skills, which will help them lead a life of honour, dignity, independence and motivate them to become contributors in their community. An ice-breaking session was held with Samridhi Bhardwaj, mentor to five differently-abled from Guna, Madhya Pradesh. Based in Delhi, Bhardwaj is an entrepreneur and a media & communications expert.
Safety with Elegance as Mentees make Designer Masks
DEF Mentees from Nuapatna, Odisha, have been regularly attending their weekly calls with Mentor Pankaja Sethi. These days due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there is a huge local demand for masks. Hence, Sethi, who is a designer herself, is mentoring them on stitching and product enhancement to help them turn it into a micro-level venture. Sethi is playing a crucial role in handholding them to learn creative ways to design and stitch the mask, which is comparatively different from the regular masks. She will them help them in how to market them online for a wider reach.
Shattering Language Barriers with Google Assistant
I, Lakshmi, belong to Alwar district in Rajasthan. I do stitching work to feed my family, me and my husband are not educated enough to understand English. Last week, my husband bought a smart phone on which we do nothing more than listening songs, YouTube browsing and watching serials. One fortunate evening, Poonam came to my house and asked if I knew anything about Google. Neither me nor my husband had any answer. Thereafter, Poonam briefed us about Google Assistant and taught us how we can actually have conversations with Google and how great a help it can be. Read More
Samarth SoochnaPreneur Ensures Financial Inclusion for All
Amir Khan of Barmer, Rajasthan, works as a vegetable supplier at the local mandi. “The basic sense of well-being that you can see today in this house is very recent. There were nights when I gave my kids rice soaked in water for dinner and me and my wife went to bed hungry. Those were really tough times,” he recalls. Moreover people above 60 years were not allowed to enter the bank because of which Amir couldn’t withdraw his pension. He then came across Samarth SoochnaPreneur Nawab’s center which had the facility of remote banking through micro-ATM.
SoochnaPreneur to the Rescue
Krishna Ram lives with his wife in Barmer, Rajasthan. He has no children and has already been retired for a year and so. There were mistakes in his Aadhaar card, because of which he was not able to receive his pension. Since the problem were beyond his understanding, he had already given up on this pension. However, his wife’s situation was much better, as she recently started getting Rs 500 per month under the old age pension scheme. Even though this money was not much, it took care of the basic needs. Read More
Nuapatna team extends relief to weavers
The weavers’ community is one of the worst hit during this pandemic. Nuapatna in Cuttack district is a cluster of some of the most talented weavers and national awardees. It is home to more than 5,000 weavers who make intricate ikat designs on silk and Tassar, many using natural dye on sarees, stoles and dupattas — sometimes taking years at a stretch to be made. But Covid-19 has adversely affected their livelihood. DEF with the help of local NGOs distributed ration kits to 82 families who do not have a ration card needed to avail ration under government’s covid relief package.

Ethnographic Research on Migrants

Serving Migrants

Covid-19 DEF Dialogue E25: Helpful Neighbours

Inclusive Digital Financial Literacy In A Less-Cash India
Osama Manzar
Founder and Director of Digital Empowerment Foundation. He is also Board Advisor to Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) of World Wide Web Foundation.
For a decade, with the rapid digitalisation across sectors, we have been talking about digital inclusion and exclusion, but it was only when the Covid-19 induced lockdown came into effect that it showed its ugly face. The need for ‘contactless payments’ seamlessly integrated into lives, across geographies and demographics, is crucial, now more than ever. The economic, educational, and social inequalities between those who have connectivity and online access, compared with those who do not, can be vividly seen. Meanwhile, the Census looks at literacy as the ability of persons to read and write their names in any recognised official language. However, we know that is not enough. Read More
Covid-19 Digital Foot-Soldier

The Covid-19 crisis is expected to have a lasting economic effect on many low-income communities across the country, especially in rural India. The lockdown led to a halt in the main source of livelihood for many families in villages, making survival tough. Most people struggled to find an alternate source of income and lack of training or knowledge became a big hindrance. DEF’s digital resource center in Thikkavanipalem village in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatanam district stood up to the dire situation and under the livelihood pillar conducted digital trainings and workshops for the local population which helped them earn a decent living amid the pandemic. Read More

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Digital Empowerment Foundation aims to connect unreached and underserved communities of India to bring them out of digital darkness and empower them with information access through last mile connectivity, digital literacy and digital interventions. Established in 2002, with the motto to ‘Inform, Communicate and Empower,’ DEF aims to find sustainable ICT solutions to overcome information poverty in rural locations of India.

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