In February, 2018, Colin spent five days visiting Aryaketu, the founder of Aryaloka Computer Education (ACE), meeting his family, and visiting branches of ACE in Nagpur and Raipur. His report (pdf) can be downloaded from the link above.
Aryaloka Computer Education (ACE) is a registered charity, registered under the Foreign Currency Regulation Act (FCRA), based in Nagpur, Maharashtra, India. Their website is here (http://www.aryalokaeducation.com/). ACE has worked to transform the lives of young students (especially girls and young women) by teaching Information Technology (IT) skills to students from the most disadvantaged background (especially Dalits) since 2000. It has grown over this time, so that now, each year, about 1,000 students (mostly aged 16 to 30) learn various IT skills from basic (computer typing, Microsoft Office, Internet) to high level courses including Tally accounting in its several branches.
Aryaloka also leads workshops on topics including life coaching skills, communication, how to develop confidence, interview skills, and career guidance to help them to obtain IT jobs. They encourage students to join English speaking course, in order to help them live independently, with confidence and dignity. Without this training most students would have little chance to escape work as a labourer, involving grinding, dirty and sometimes dangerous manual work.
70 percent of the students are young women. In India, women face much discrimination, with little chance to steer their own lives. An IT training can open the door to many opportunities, including further academic education. In the past, of about 700 graduates, 25% have gone on to various kinds of IT jobs in and 65% to further education. The drop out rate is 10%.
The training scholarships funded by BODHI cost INR14,500 (about A$310), for six months (these figures were current as at December 2019).
1. MS-CIT (Maharashtra state certificate in Information Technology) - MS office, Internet, English typing : INR 4,500 2. Hardware networking or Tally accounting or Graphic design IR 5,000 3. English speaking course IR 3,000 4. Other workshops IR 2,000
Between 2016 and 2019 BODHI supported 200 training scholarships at AES. The story of one student is below.
Students in class, 2017 (Ms Swati closest to camera)
Name: Swati Shamrao Kawle Address: withheld (in Nagpur) Age: 23 years Eduation: 12th standard pass Family members – Orphan After the completion of course she has started earning 4500/- Rs per month. Story written by Ms Swati in Hindi and translated into English as follows………….. …….
I came to know about Aryaloka Computer Education (ACE) by my friend Nikita who learned from here. I visited ACE with my friend at ACE Indora branch and immediately Sir registered my name for the six months course. And I started learning first course MSCIT (Maharashtra State certificate course in Information Technology) from 16/01/2017 later on I done all the courses i.e. Tally accounting, Hardware networking and English speaking class. After the completion of course I got job in IT field and earning 4,500/- Rs per month which is enough for me to survive in Nagpur. But the knowledge and skills I have received at ACE I know that it will be helpful for my better n better future career.
I am orphan I used to stay in orphan hostel and gone through very difficult period in my childhood. In difficult circumstances I have passed 12th standard and shifted to other hostel which is for adults. At that time I started my first job as a sales girl. This job was so hectic, and I got sick and looked very ill and pale. I was so frustrated, upset and again health becomes more and more serious. So I have been to one of my relative in small village for treatment and rest. After the treatment again I came back to Nagpur and I used to stay with my friend Nikita, who also used to come to Aryaloka for IT course. She also insisted me to join course at ACE. In this way I joined courses and I must say that the teachers and staff are so friendly at ACE it has changed my life. The courses at Aryaloka have given me new hopes and new direction to my life. All the staffs and teachers are friendly and at the same time stick and guide/advice students time to time to get focus in learning courses. Without guidance I think it’s hard to grow and make progress.
I learned so many good things from Aryaloka. I always praised the name of Aryaloka to my friends, colleagues. Aryaloka is also feels proud to see that one orphan girl learn various IT courses and now earning money for herself. Look forward to make my life much better and comfortable for myself and others.
In January 2020 then recently elected BODHI Australia committee member (Dr Ajay Niranjane) visited the Aryaloka Computer Education, in Nagpur. Photos below. Hover on the pictures for detailed captions.