Bridging the Digital Divide
The following snapshot is the first in the series to highlight past and current projects in S3IDF’s portfolio:
Shafiuddin is a quiet, unassuming, and determined young man with a big smile. With a degree in Computer Application, it makes sense why he would want to create an enterprise that provides his community with reliable computers.
Living in Chintapally, which is two hours away from the big urban center, Hyderabad, Shafiuddin saw that that their college and government offices lacked the computers necessary to conduct their work. If there were computers available, they were unusable due to frequent repairs needed and power cuts. The lack of grid connectivity was a hindrance for the local community and government. Shafiuddin saw an opportunity and in 2006, he worked together with S3IDF to bridge the digital divide in Chintapally. “I knew this would have meant a lot for the village. Everybody needs such a service!” says Shafiuddin.
With a three year loan and his own contribution, Shafiuddin started the Indian Computer Training Center (ICTC), a kiosk that included two laptops, a desktop, printer, digital camera, and IT services- all for the general public. The ICTC provided a stable internet connection which allowed students to no longer travel long distances to print documents for class and for distant families to keep in touch with each other to keep social ties alive. An uninterrupted power supply (UPS) provided the required power back up for the kiosk during power cuts, enabling the enterprise to stay online and continue its business.
One year after he started the ICTC, Shafiuddin was able to collect profits from his enterprise thanks to the market demand for the services the kiosk provided. He was able to expand his services and provided free email address creations to delivering basic computer literacy course to attract more customers. “I am glad things are working out,” says Shafiuddin with a smile, “[and] I hope to expand my business.”
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