The Government of India’s Digital India Programme, helmed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has created waves across the country. Motivated to contribute to this initiative within his means, 16-year-old Kartikeya Thiyam Sundaram has developed a simple yet comprehensive manual to introduce computers to the underprivileged. A Grade XII student of GD Goenka World School Sohna, Kartikeya has been supported in his endeavor by The Utsav Foundation where he volunteered during December last year. The NGO is dedicated towards initiatives concerning education of underprivileged children, women empowerment and free medical check-up camps. It is led by Mr. Raj Nehru, the Vice Chancellor of Vishwakarma Skill Development University – the first of its kind in India Government of Haryana. Kartikeya has given shape to Mr. Nehru’s vision to spread computer literacy among underprivileged children and adults at the NGO. Within a span of just 30 days, Kartikeya independently designed the course and content in both Hindi and English.
It comprises a step-by-step introduction to learning the basics of: a. Handling a computer b. Using a mouse c. Typing d. Graphical User Interface e. File Management f. Start and shut down processes Additionally, he added illustrations and links to publicly available YouTube videos that explain each concept in simple vernacular language. The manual also contains guidance notes for teachers to deliver the course to students and relevant images and test papers to evaluate and certify the knowledge of the students. The course was launched at the Utsav Foundation on 26th January 2017, commemorating Republic Day and inauguration of the NGO’s computer lab. At the moment, Utsav Foundation is using the manual as a short term certification program for its students.
Plans are on to add additional modules over time. To reach out to a wider audience, the book is available on Amazon India as an e book ‘Digital Learning’ in English and Hindi. A paperback version is also available on amazon.com. English E-Book version Hindi E- Book version Paperback Version Proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated for charitable causes. Mr. Nehru said in praise of Kartikeya’s efforts, “Students who embrace the values of serving the underprivileged in their early years of life can grow from an understanding of how they fit into society to how they can help solve societal problems.
This developmental process grows empathy and fosters children’s identities as engaged citizens. Such students become effective leaders of the future and I can clearly see similar traits in Kartikeya Sundaram. I wish him all the best.” Kartikeya’s efforts have also been lauded by his school principal. Mr. Skand Bali said, “It is a moment of great pride and honor for the GD Goenka World School as it is the school of Kartikeya Sundaram. It is a moment of pride for me as well to be the principal of a boy who was World Topper in ICT during his IGCSE examinations and who has now come out with this amazing piece of work for the needy of our society.”
“This work shows that Kartikeya is truly a world leader with great qualities of empathy, care and support. He is an amazing boy who has a selfless attitude and cares for all. I wish him greater success in life.” Kartikeya now aspires for this manual to be used by other NGOs working in the sphere of education of the underprivileged as it will foster his vision of spreading digital literacy.