Ever since I left TCS I have made an effort to make the masses use ICT. I have spent time with school kids, college students, principals, ngo personnels, ngo leaders, office boys.
The idea is to make them understand what IT has in store for them. Can they work to setup efficient systems in the ngos so that they spend less time in unnecessary things and use their core competency. As I have worked I have had several experiences that I have cherished, hated or plainly wondered.
I would like to put up one experience I would never forget, one that has made me much stronger.
Once while marketing apnaIT’s products to schools, I had the misfortune of meeting a principal. All went well for sometime until he asked what is your background? I honestly told him I worked for TCS for 4 years and the quit to use all my acquired skills for underpriviliged in the country. I expected him to be ok with what I said, but then what he said left me aghast.
He said tell me , Cmmon be Honest. Has TCS fired you or you left TCS? (सच सच बताओ टीसीएस ने तुम्हे निकाला है की तुम खुद निकले )
The second option seemed out of his mental horizon.I was marketing my social entreprise products so continued the conversation as politely as possible. But it did leave me thinking.
I felt humilitated and could have explained for hours what made me come to Hubli, Karnataka far off from Lucknow and how social entrepreneurship is the solution for a developing country and how social work needs to be looked from a sustainable perspective, how the youth need to do things they want to do and on and on, but this was not the place to talk about all these, he would take me to be mad.
I was just beginning to get life’s biggest lesson.
Do what you want to do, do not expect people would understand you. Now as I work I make it a point to talk less of my background because I do not expect people to understand me. I work and leave it there.
Their is another issue that sometimes concerns me, although not too critical but does stir up some emotions in me.
Some people refer me as a ICT trainer. People who know me well would vouch that I calling me a trainer is a wrong estimation of the work that I seek to do and practice. I never set out to be a trainer and would never be one in the conventional sense.In the process of helping people understand what IT can do for them at the grassroots I do share my knowledge, more of what I have seen and experienced, things that make a difference to organisation’s processes and aid in their development. I do not speak from a book.
So What do I really do? I do not have a word, but in essence I have a focus area, I try to make ngos working for rural communities understand what IT can do for them, I make them curious, I share all that I can so that they take it forward and help bridge the digital divide by going back and spreading the word to their communities.
So folks please don’t call me a trainer. I am not. I may be a facilitator. I am not there to teach. I am just there to share my experiences with IT tools. All that I learnt in an engineering college, IT company, from trials and errors, from working at grassroots, I just wish you know that in a quicker span so that you save time and effort.
I want ngos to effectively potray their work, make their internal systems better, use funds in the best possible way so that we can wipe out social evils more effectively.
In short can we apply “The best practices of the corporate sector” to ngos.
That’s my focus and I am trying just that.