For over 10 years, Softchoice Cares has worked to ‘bridge the digital divide’ in communities across North America and places around the world. We believe that access to technology opens up a world of possibilities for disadvantaged families – particularly children – to learn and develop new skills, and break the cycle of poverty.
This year, members of the Softchoice Cares board are building on that mission, and our commitment to sustainability, by returning to Rajasthan, India to continue the great work our previous board started with Jatan Sansthan.
Why is Softchoice doing this?
We often see things within our own frame of reference as being more important, or having more value, than what truly matters in life. The Softchoice Cares international initiative is an opportunity for our entire company – but particularly the Softchoice Cares volunteer board members – to expand their frame of reference, and make an impact in a place far from their day-to-day lives. It’s a great opportunity for us to show we care about the world we live in.
Think for a moment what the life of a child without access to a computer or the internet is like in today’s world.
We almost take for granted how lucky we are to be able to surf the web and “Google” anything we want to know. Currently in India, only 8 percent of the population has access to the internet, and 82 percent of those people are in urban areas. The rural population remains disconnected from the rest of the world, which limits their ability to gain employable skills and pursue education. Softchoice Cares and Jatan Sansthan have partnered to help bridge this gap in rural Rajasthan.
Jatan Sansthan runs education and youth resource centers in the remote rural villages of Rajasthan. Their vision is to have an equal, empowered society in India with an emphasis on ensuring women and children have fair access to education. Softchoice will be working in the district of Rajsamand, where women currently have a literacy rate of 40 percent, and 60 percent of young girls are married before the age of 18.
Our goal is to provide access to technology for these women and young girls to give them the opportunity to learn, read, and gain computer skills. If the girls are getting an education, they can stay with their parents longer and aspire to get good jobs. These are young women who want to be teachers, doctors and administrators, and we want to give them the opportunity to pursue their dreams.
The Softchoice Cares Board is working hard to coordinate getting facilities ready in Rajsamand for additional laptops. Through the generous donation of our partner Lenovo, the board is working on imaging laptops and getting them ready to take to India. While the team spends two weeks in Rajsamand, we will be completing the following projects:
- Deploying 20 new Lenovo laptops in a lab setup
- Updating the existing two computer labs Softchoice Cares deployed in 2015
- Teaching a photography class to students to introduce them to computers
- Complete the building of lab facilities, and set up chairs, desks, tables, and classroom technology
- Training local teachers on how to use Microsoft Office
- Delivering and serving food to communities in need with Robin Hood Army
How are we funding the project?
A big thank you to Lenovo for their continued support and for providing the funding to cover all the technology needs for the project. A special thank you to Softchoice and our Executive Committee for their continued involvement, and ensuring that 100 percent of donations to Softchoice Cares goes directly to Jatan Sansthan and not towards travel costs of the Softchoice Cares Board.
The Softchoice Cares Board is proud to represent Softchoice and continue our commitment to bridging the digital divide, and we certainly cannot do it alone – we thank the Softchoice community for their support!