Power of Inclusivity

In a world that is becoming increasingly interconnected, the power of inclusivity cannot be underestimated. Embracing diversity and fostering a sense of unity among individuals from different backgrounds, cultures, and identities has the potential to create a more vibrant, equitable, and harmonious society. Read More


Is Digital India Inclusive?
Sengjan is a 40-year-old teacher at the Montfort Centre for Education, Tura, Meghalaya. In the past year, Sengjan has learnt to use computers and has even begun to teach the skill to his students along with his usual subjects. “Everywhere you go today, in the private or the public sector, work is dependent on computers. People are posting jobs online and people are applying for jobs online. Computers have become an extremely important part of our daily lives today, and that is the reason I encourage my students to learn computers," he tells us. Read More

Sustained Growth for All
Smartpur is a rural entrepreneurship-based model designed to create ideal smart villages in India. The entrepreneurship-based model helped us to create a niche for sustainability from the beginning of the project. For the projects to be sustained, certain metrics and standards need to be set from project identification and implementation through baseline and feasibility studies, formulation, design, funding, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and the right amount of training and capacity building as and when required by the staff. The design of Smartpur is such that, once the centres were established keeping in mind the above metrics, one of the most crucial parts was to identify people who have the knack to be social entrepreneurs and willing to serve the community at large. Read More
Internet For All
In the age where most people have set up their lives living each moment in the presence of the internet, imagining places and situations where availability of the internet is scarce might seem like a deviation from the norm. It is very easy to take the internet connection as a given while we move about in our lives consuming from and contributing to the digital world. This luxury can only be perceived as such when one looks at the vast majority of the rural population who are completely oblivious to the presence of computers or the internet. While it is hard to imagine students living a life without any trace of digital footprints, there are many places across India where the young minds have no access to a whole different digital world. Read More
Krisarthak: Bridging The Digital Gap For Secured Financial Future Of The Farmers
Krisarthak is a program that aims to improve the financial well-being of farmers by providing them with financial education and counseling. The program focuses on bridging the digital gap and leveraging ICT (Information and Communication Technology) tools to educate farmers about financial tools and services that can enhance their living standards. The pilot phase of the Krisarthak program took place from January to March 2023 in six districts of Assam: Kamrup, Sivasagar, Charaideo, Baksa, Barpeta, and Nagaon. During this phase, 2,834 farmers participated in the Financial Education and Counseling (FEC) initiative, 52.5% were female and 47.5% were male. Read More
Access to Fair Opportunity
For someone who is differently abled, finding a suitable work that does not remind them of their disabilities each moment and pays well for their hard work is often challenging. Especially when it comes to rural India, due to lack of facilities, they find it much harder to live a dignified life. Digital Empowerment Foundation’s Samarth SoochnaPreneur program ensures that such people are given a fair opportunity to become entrepreneurs on their own merits of hard work. Ganesh Pawar from Nandurbar, Maharashtra has been a member of the program. Despite his disabilities, he is the sole earning member of his family of 7 belonging to a very poor background. Earlier, he used to work as a Self Help Group’s consultant, maintaining the data of Shahada tehsil. Read More
Learning Has No Limit
Learning has no age limit. As long as one is willing to put in the effort and persevere, there is no ending to any kind of learning. Kailashben from Pasva, Gujarat also believes and practises the same. She could have found many reasons to just continue with her mundane routine which she dedicates towards looking after her family of four with a teenage son and a married daughter. But instead, she has found many reasons to be more active and support her husband who works as a labourer in a Jubilant factory earning 15,000 rupees on a monthly basis. She has been an active member of a Self Help Group (SHG) in her village and her optimism and cheerfulness is said to be infectious. Read More
Safeguarding Rural India Through Critical Digital Literacy
Even the most innovative, skillful and effective people need a platform and the right kind of support to put these qualities into action for a fulfilling outcome. Especially in rural India, lack of such platforms or the environment creates obstacles in many creative minds to be able to channel it in the right direction. Providing digital literacy which further equips women with digital skills helps in them getting access to an ever expanding world of the internet and avail benefits from the government welfare schemes aimed at providing better opportunities to grow. Infopreneurs who are trained to provide such digital literacy classes in the villages play a vital role in enabling this. In the village of Asoga, located in Durg district of Chhattisgarh state, Infopreneurs are making a difference. Read More
SoochnaPreneur Centre: A Place for Troubleshooting
Nikhat Jabee Ansari is DEF’s SoochnaPrenuer working for the communities of the Moraghat Tea Garden. She is known for her intense and active efforts in providing and helping the people of Moraghat Tea Garden with their day-to-day tasks. Nikhat was born and brought up in this tea garden. After completing her graduation, she started her journey as a social worker. She understands the needs and technicalities of the tea garden communities. She is liaising with various government departments so that the schemes and entitlements reach the community. After taking the training and capacity building sessions, her ability and scope to help the locals has magnified. Read More
Access to Identity for Employment
Anamika’s life took a difficult turn when she lost her father at a young age, and her mother had to leave her job as a tea laborer, plunging them into financial hardship. Despite the opportunity for Anamika to work as a tea laborer herself, she faced a major obstacle—she did not possess an Aadhaar card, a crucial identification document in India. Anamika’s applications for an Aadhaar card to the tea garden authorities went unanswered, prolonging her unemployment. However, the situation changed when a free Aadhaar card camp was organized at the SoochnaPreneur Center of Olivia Birla in Gopalpur tea garden. Thanks to the efforts of Olivia, a SoochnaPrenuer from Gopalpur, Anamika’s Aadhaar card was finally made. Read More
Thriving Presence of Digital Didis
Many awareness programs launched by DEF have proven to be successful mainly because of the advocacy of the SoochnaPreneurs who have connected with the intent and understood it thoroughly. The chosen local changemakers drive the initiatives further in ways tailored to reach out to people in their own communities. Alpna Sharma is one such SoochnaPreneur who has been associated with DEF for the past three years. She lives in Kumbhraj Nagar Palika of Guna district, Madhya Pradesh along with her family. Her physical disability has never hindered her in being able to complete her post graduation. She started working with DEF through the Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) initiative and found it fulfilling to continue working in various other programs. Read More
Awareness About Right To Information
Soochna Adhikar Kendras are designed to proactively provide the necessary information to those in need who are usually not even aware of the welfare schemes that they can benefit from. This stems from the fundamental principle of ensuring the well being of the society on the whole by taking care of the basic things that a citizen would need to lead a comfortable life. So far, such centres have been vital in filling the gaps of having such schemes and people actually benefiting from such schemes. One such instance is that of Vijay Kumar Ram’s who is a resident of Mohvyatpur of Bihar, “My son, Ankush Kumar, has a hearing disability in one ear and is undergoing treatment in AIIMS, India’s premier medical hospital. While getting treated there, we learned that we needed to get a disability card for him from our home state or apply online. Read More
The Gardens of Inequali-Tea and Some Digital Roads Out
Last Sunday, the 21st of May, is marked and celebrated as International Tea Day. This comes after a UN resolution in 2019, reaffirming the 2030 goals for sustainable development, and taking into account the cultural and economic importance of tea, and aiming to improve labour conditions and impact to the environment. But what exactly does International Tea Day mean to the colonial legacy of the tea plantations, and the living conditions of the communities who labour there? We are learning from the hard ground realities of the tea plantation workers amidst this digital era of extraordinary exclusion. Some digital experiments of connecting the unconnected are showing long lasting changes and impacts. After all, Tea is the second most preferred beverage worldwide, second only to water. Read More
Can we go green and digital together?
It's another world environment day upon us, and we are increasingly looking towards an uncertain future as temperatures soar dangerously close to the tipping point that scientists have been warning us about. Can we reconcile sustainability and connectivity, and how? As we often quote DEF's founder-director Osama Manzar in repeating this, Data is expensive. Sure, it has gone cheaper and faster than it had over the past two decades, but one's opinion will change when it is seen as a necessity and not a luxury. In an increasingly connected world, we need to be connected to survive and thrive. In fact, the affordability report is a place to start: But one cost that is less talked about is the environment. Read More

Samarth SoochnaPreneur initiative has always been a great example of the power of inclusivity in any social set up. Here is a story of one of the beneficiaries.

Ganesh Sharma Samarth SoochnaPreneur

The injustices that algorithms of platform and gig-economy apps cause has been documented previously. In India, the workers in the gig-economy are counted as “clients,” depriving them of many protections labour laws provide. In such an unorganised sector, Shaik Salauddin of the Indian Federation Of App Based Transport Workers (IFAT) is one of the leaders organising and unionising people working in ride-hailing and delivery apps. We speak to him in detail about the algorithms that cause injustices. Read More

I left for Jasidih, Jharkhand on 5th of February for training for Digital Didis’ who are going to work in the Jamui district of Bihar. Boarding the train from Kolkata Station, my mind was filled with all the thoughts that arose from the conversations I had with my family and colleagues when they got to know that I will be travelling alone to Bihar. One of the most prominent concerns emanated from the conversation I had with my brother, who exclaimed, “You aren’t in your right mind to take up the task of travelling alone in Bihar”. This was because a woman from a city like Delhi, going for an official visit to Bihar, is somewhat unheard of. I deboarded the train in Jasidih, as this was the closest station to the Jamui district where the program was scheduled. This decision was taken keeping in mind the ease of travelling. This was the first trip where I was on my own. Travelling to Jharkhand and Bihar alone, especially around areas which are associated with Naxalites, and is thought to be a difficult terrain if one is going to conduct any developmental activities, seems like a brave task. The rigidity that I was apprised of was evident when I visited the hotel that was booked. My fear heightened when I entered the hotel looking at twelve to fifteen men hovering around. The very sight of this scared me. Then gathering all my courage, I went up to the reception. Read More

We are expanding our reach to serve the most marginalized communities across India. Donate to our Digital Daan initiative and help us expand to unreached and unconnected communities.

Donate for Digital Daan
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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