The Migrant Heroes

India is unique in culture, geographic pattern, community settlements, economic or natural resources. There is wide regional disparity in development within the country. As a result, people living in rural parts belonging to lower income group, move from their state of origin to another state, within the boundaries of India, either for social or economic reasons. In common term they are referred to as ‘Migrant labourers. Migrant labourers are a formidable force in India’s economic life, constituting nearly 50% of India’s GDP. The total number of internal migrants in India, as per the 2011 census, is 45.36 crore or 37% of the country’s population. Nobody had imagined unprecedented impact of India’s nationwide lockdown on low wage-earning migrant population across the country due to Covid-19 pandemic. According to an assessment by the ‘Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy’, more than 120 million people lost their jobs in April due to the lockdown, 75 percent of whom were working in the unorganised sector. So, with the looming fear of hunger, they were forced to begin arduous journeys back to their villages —cycling or hitching rides on lorries or on foot. DEF conducted an ‘Ethnographic Study’ on migrant labourers to assess the impact of Covid-19 crisis on them from diverse perspectives and a way forward. This involved—travelling to most affected states of India—Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand. In each state, 4-5 villages were visited, which witnessed substantial number of migrant labourers forced to return due to the crisis. In the process, over 60 migrant labourers were video interviewed collectively in three states—in their natural habitat, while observing and recording their experiences and gathering vital insights. Read More

Dr MCR HRD Institute and TS Council for Higher Education jointly organize webinar on National Education Policy 2020
The government of Telangana and the TSCHE have conceptualized and executed a number of innovative initiatives, including university-industry partnerships, multidisciplinary nature of syllabi, MoUs with global players, etc in order to make students of technical and professional educational institutions industry-ready. Read More
The Story Of Indian Migrant Workers Isn’t Over Yet
When the terrifying exodus of migrant workers spilled over from our busiest cities onto the web of highways that eventually led to their homes thousands of kilometres away, 22-year-old Abner Manzar was at a relief camp in Haryana’s Nuh. Read More
1 in 4 migrant workers faced police brutality while going home: Study
It took a lot to uproot migrant workers from the cities they had placed all their hopes on. When the lockdown began, 80% did not get their rent waived, 74% did not get paid by their employers and 45% did not find a government quarantine facility. Now, as they start trickling back to cities, a study by non-profit Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) documents why they may be doing so despite what they went through when trying to get home. Read More

DEF-USIPI Digital Centres- For the Youth, By the Youth
The DEF-USIPI Digital Centres across India is helping economically weaker sections of the society. The Digital Centres have organized camps in multiple locations to register the youth for the Pre and Post matric scholarship programme announced by Central government. The team from Rajasthan registered more than 100 students, Ranchi more than 20 students, and from Telangana, more than 50 students have got registered, to complete their documentation process so that they can avail the scholarship. The centre facilitators also raised awareness across villages to bridge the literacy gap that widened due to the pandemic and lack of access to connectivity.
Digital Literacy helping pave the way for strong aspirations
A 10th standard student, Armaan studies in Government Boys Senior Secondary school and works as a compounder in Royalty path lab in Ghazipur. At the path lab he learns and creates reports of the tests. For the same, computer literacy has proved to be an added advantage in making test reports accurately to an extent that now he guides his fellow colleagues as well. “Working at labs give me hands on experience in medicine at a pathology which will help in my higher education. I want to be an inspiring figure for my two siblings.”
Hello Periods!
Conducting workshops and creating awareness on menstruation has always been challenging especially in rural areas. This situation exists not only due to the lack of information on menstrual hygiene but also of the stigma associated with it. This time, the solution proposed by DEF’s Smartpur initiative was to build the capacity of 50 trainers on how awareness workshops can be conducted using videos on the menstruation and menstrual hygiene effectively with the community, also engaging the boys/men in the discussion. A training session by Aditi Gupta, Indian author and co-founder of Menstrupedia Comic) went a long way in enabling the trainers... Read More
Functional Literacy for Unorganized Sector Workers
This programme, aiming to raise skills in the workers of unorganized sector, has reached out to 46% of women working in unorganized sector of 7 districts- Almora, Guna, Ranchi, Raigarh, Ghazipur, Delhi and Tehri covering the topics that could help them function effectively in their life and community especially amid this COVID 19 crises and the pandemic induced lockdown. Literacy was imparted on use of digital devices like laptop and smartphones, use of Internet, online features line digital locker, online application for aadhar card, pan card and voter id card. Online Banking, Electronic Fund Transfer, Plastic Money and Mobile Banking was also included as major components.
Hand Hygiene for All
Handwashing with soap at critical times is one of the best ways to protect from illnesses, and stop the spread of germs. It is the first defence against COVID -19. On the occasion of Global Handwashing Day, Digital Empowerment Foundation started an awareness drive “Do it Yourself” with the support of UNICEF India in 70 districts of 16 states with 394 Centre coordinators and 3940 youth volunteers focusing on the institutionalization of hand hygiene and also engaging the community members in response to control the outbreak by making it a social norm.
Soochnapreneur ensures quality maternal healthcare
Mohini, a resident of Saidanpur, Uttar Pradesh, is a housewife. Due to her husband’s busy schedule she was unable to get regular checkups during her pregnancy. Pooja Devi, one of the DEF’s Soochnapreneurs, with her smartphone and internet met her and the first thing she did was to link her to the maternity benefit program me – Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana. It is a conditional cash transfer scheme for pregnant and lactating women of 19 years of age or above for the first live birth. It provides partial wage compensation to women for wage-loss during childbirth and childcare and to provide conditions for safe delivery and good nutrition and feeding practices. Read More
Bringing Autumn with “KAVERI”
In October, Digikargha presented its autumn collection KAVERI, which symbolises the sacred river of the weaver’s community in Musiri, one of our clusters and a historical town in Trichy district of Tamil Nadu. The fabric weaved out of the loom comes with the happiness and love of carrying forward the art of handloom weaving by bringing a range of cotton sarees in a variety of soothing colours and patterns entirely handwoven by the weavers of Musiri. Read More
From benign web to misinformed internet, are we prepared?
Creating awareness among the users is the tougher way forward but tightening the noose around technology is a half-baked and short-lived approach towards combating the menace in its current form. The ability of the government, private companies, civil society and the media to work together at community level has the potential to bring about a change. The current political climate globally and social media have contributed to an extremely polarized society. There is a need for media sensitization programmes that will make us more conscious users of the Internet rather than passive consumers. Read More

E01 : The Migrant Heroes: In Conversation with Afzal Mirza

E02 : The Migrant Heroes: In Conversation with Amit Kumar

E03 : The Migrant Heroes: In Conversation with Arbaaz Khan

In the age of social media, the credibility of content is an important issue
By Osama Manzar
Founder Director
Digital Empowerment Foundation
In the digital age, where copious amounts of free information are available in public domain, the menace of misinformation, propaganda and personal attacks is bound to exist. It is certainly not new in the world of social media. In the last few months, however, social media has been at its worst. At the same time, it is also struggling, taking baby steps towards improving itself. Read More
Relief Warrior Nutan Forwards a Helping Hand for Community Sustenance

The Internet Saathi team is committed to provide relief resources and opportunities to all its beneficiaries amid the ongoing pandemic. With the belief that war against Covid-19 can be only won with awareness, empathy and coordination among communities, collective engagement becomes paramount. Nutan Kumari, an Internet Saathi and DEF’s Covid-19 Relief Warrior from Bhagwanpur, Bihar, took up the task of spreading awareness and preventive measures of the disease. Proficient in tailoring, she also stepped up to the responsibility of stitching masks for distribution to every member in her village. While the realisation of the sheer magnitude of her task did scare her, she continued to work tirelessly with the aim of serving the community. Nutan was eventually able to produced hundreds of masks, which were given out in her village by the Internet Saathi team. 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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