How the Aahwahan Foundation Laptop Bank Responds to the Online Education Needs of Underprivileged Students

Since the pandemic epidemic, education as we know it has experienced a paradigm shift. From online learning to other digital educational programs, children now depend on technology as a means of education. But, it was not easy for students from disadvantaged communities.

Many low-income households did not have access to cell phones or a basic phone that they used with the whole family. The pandemic also left them fighting for their basic needs, not to mention education, which was not even an option for those struggling to make a living.

Understanding this emerging problem and realizing the importance of e-learning and technological advancement, NGO based in Bengaluru Aahwahan Foundation hastened to act and came to the aid of the needy.

The foundation’s campaign, “Laptop bank”, an initiative to boost education, benefits 3,031 students in the subways of Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, Delhi and Noida, and has so far distributed 433 laptops.

Aimed at EWS (Economically Weaker Sections) students, as part of the initiative, students can borrow laptops and continue their education at home for a specific period of time.

Braja Kishore Pradhan, Founder of Aahwahan Foundation, said, “Every citizen should come forward and contribute to these students for a sustainable future of the country and positive social change. I urge the contribution of community groups and businesses through their CSR programs to enable the education of marginalized groups in society ”.

How it works

First, the Aahwahan team identifies poor localities and students in the region. They then try to find someone there who can be a bridge between Aahwahan’s team and the students. Next steps include verification processes, through which the details of student household income are verified, and eligible students are screened accordingly.

About 10 laptops are allocated to each zone, and a team member assigns and controls these laptops.

“The aim of the initiative is to bridge the digital divide and close the lack of access to online devices. We mainly welcome students between the 6th and the 12th grade who can handle laptops and who have a better understanding of the Internet and other features than the younger ones, ”explains Braja.

Founder Braja Kishore Pradhan

Students can use these borrowed laptops to study at home for a specific length of time – typically two to three hours, and can also choose to attend online classes for the same length of time.

The foundation ensures that laptops are installed with all relevant software, and even have Internet access, before they are delivered to students. In addition, there is also a free number in case the students need to clarify their doubts.

For students who have no idea how to operate a system, an Aahwahan volunteer provides appropriate training.

Meet growing demand

Aahwahan launched this initiative in September 2020 in Bangalore as a pilot project for 5 months. The team quickly realized the potential of their initiative and decided to expand it to other towns and cities.

Initially, laptops came from his own office, either from employees or from those that have been refurbished.

“Gradually, we started reaching more people from businesses for laptops, realizing the growing response to our initiative. Today we even get calls from mainstream schools to help their students take online classes, ”says Braja, adding that the biggest challenge for the NGO is getting laptops to keep up with the demand. .

He says that while the initiative is appreciated, it is not easy to get the laptops.

Currently, the foundation is actively seeking the participation and support of businesses and individuals to enrich the educational path of children in rural areas.

The team has set a goal of allocating 1,000 computers to this specific initiative which they believe will benefit 10,000 children in various parts of the country. In addition, the foundation intends to expand its initiative to other regions of the country, such as Guwahati, Chennai and Hyderabad.

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