#NokiaC3ForChange - Helping former **** workers in Mumbai upskill themselves for alternate careers

dipankar paul
dipankar paul ✭✭✭✭
edited December 2020 in India

Welcome to the #NokiaC3forChange initiative with The Better India.

As part of this campaign, we handpicked 20 changemakers across India. These changemakers and their communities were asked to learn to use smartphones in their change endeavours – farming, education, building a business, saving endangered birds, etc. – and share the impact that technology helped them make. These stories have been recorded after the communities used the phones for a month. While we’re sure long-term use of technology will make an even bigger impact, here is what the communities were able to accomplish in just 30-days.

In this change story, we see how former **** workers in Mumbai are now learning new skills and carving out promising careers across the fields of technology, tailoring, and education.

The story

Kalpana Prem Tamang never got the chance to have a normal childhood. At the age of 13, she was trafficked from Nepal, brought to Mumbai, and forced into prostitution. It took her years of struggle to finally free herself from that life, thanks to a well-wisher’s help.

That well-wisher, Dr. Swati Singh Khan, founder of the NGO Shree Sai Seva Sanstha, has helped hundreds of young girls and women like Kalpana get another shot at life and embrace alternative livelihoods. Today, Kalpana works in the administrative team of the NGO and is taking computer classes to carve a better future for herself.

“I always wanted to study more. Restarting my education was a great way to realise my dreams. These computer classes provided the gateway, but accessing classes online would sometimes pose a challenge as I didn’t have a smartphone,” says Kalpana.

With COVID-19 forcing women like Kalpana to pursue their education and new career ambitions online, Kalpana’s strides towards success came to a halt. However, a recent social initiative changed things for her and for many other women like her.

Here’s what happened.

The change

Dr. Swati Singh Khan was one of the chosen 20 changemakers for the #NokiaC3forChange initiative. Dr. Khan works towards rehabilitating and transforming the lives of **** workers in Mumbai, through various skill-development opportunities, support, and legal aid.

Dr. Swati Khan, through #NokiaC3forChange initiative, distributed smartphones to these women who wanted to pursue education and move into new professions. The women are now using the phone to learn new skills and carve out promising careers across the fields of technology, tailoring, and education. Some of them are also using the phones to start their education afresh.

The impact

From using Google maps to being educated about digital literacy, recipients of the smartphones are learning an array of new things that are aiding their professional development.

Kalpana for example, through her computer education, is planning to continue as an admin at the NGO while also completing her higher secondary education.

Another such beneficiary is the 43-year-old Supriya Begum. Originally from Kolkata, Supriya came to Mumbai five years ago to make a better living. “I was still working as a **** worker here but always wanted to be more. I started learning to tailor. And now, the phones have opened up new gates for me. I’ve been watching YouTube videos to learn about stitching techniques, designs, and perfecting my skills. On the internet, there are so many designs, so many new ideas and things to learn from and the phone has made all of it possible to access. I want to be able to start a tailoring workshop soon. Plus, I never had the opportunity to study or go to school and with the smartphone, this seems possible now,” shares Supriya.

Many other women in Dr. Khan’s network are now using smartphones through the #NokiaC3ForChange initiative to learn and pursue a career that they really want and are hoping to realize their dreams of completing their education.

Do you know of changemakers like this who are using technology to create an impact? Nominate them here. You can nominate your own inspiring change story too. The top shortlisted entries will get a Nokia phone!

Note: Read the terms and conditions here.