“You know, I was nervous when I first saw this ‘box’ called a computer. I was scared to touch it, leave alone operate it. What if it got damaged?! I could never afford to pay for the damage,” says Aroti Mazhi, a student of Lahuwal Girls M.E. School, Dibrugarh, Assam
The 13 year-old girl hails from the village of Doom Pother, district Dibrugrah, in Assam. Like most of the girls from the tea garden area, she had been completely unaware about what a computer, actually, was. Challenging economic and social backgrounds had served as impediments to learning the basics of the digital world. “My parents are daily wagers; they work in a tea garden; sometimes, I also help them in their work, which translates into absenteeism in school,” says Aroti But then came the computer bus! A bus, which opened-up the world – almost literally speaking – not only for Aroti, but for her classmates, and many other kids.
“The computer bus as a motivation for me, and many like me, to attend school. My attendance record now stands at 85 percent!” says she excitedly, accompanied with a tinge of pride in her voice In the two years of her ‘friendship’ with the computer bus, she has attended about 50 classes till date, learning Paint Brush, MS Word and Excel, among other topics. Her mom adds: “Amitu ketiau computer dekha nai karon ami baganot kam koru. Amar suwaliye computer dikhise, sikise. Bhal lagise ~ we have never seen computers as we work in a tea garden; our daughter is learning computers; we are very happy to see that”
Little Aroti goes on to talk about how she loves to work with Paint Brush, and how she is really particular about attending school now