EMPOWERING ELDERS DIGITALLY:
Digital literacy for elders
The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.
As per a report by HelpAge India, only 4% of India’s elders use the internet. The constant change in Technology & the Digital World makes it difficult for most senior citizens to keep up with the latest gadgets, mobile applications, new smart phones etc, both in urban & rural India. More so with the seniors who find it almost impossible to keep up with, preventing them from accessing the many benefits the online world brings with it, to help them lead an improved quality of life. This handicap prevents them from accessing the many benefits the online world brings with it and also excludes them from the main stream social fabric.
The onset of Covid 19 has only deepened the Digital Divide India’s elders face, adding to their existing vulnerability against the virus, which has forced them to stay locked within the confines of their own homes, unable to access basic services, while dealing with stress, anxiety and loneliness. Most elders are used to physically going to banks, market places or utility centres to pay their bills, the pandemic has made accessibility to these basic services difficult, and their lack of digital knowledge has cut them off from accessing any of these services online, making them dependent solely on their adult children/ grandchildren. For those living alone, the challenge is even harder. A recent HelpAge report, focusing on ‘Digital Literacy for elders’ revealed that 60% of India’s urban elders felt, that their children did not have time, to help them become digitally literate.
To address this huge need for digital empowerment, HelpAge India works through Senior Citizen Associations, and conducts Digital Literacy workshops, with the current Covid situation, these classes have taken an online format, which is increasingly gaining speed. There is well planned out digital curriculum for elders keeping their needs in mind. These workshops are conducted with the help of young enthusiastic volunteers who enjoy giving their time and efforts to help make our elders digitally literate. HelpAge India is currently associated with more than 5000 Senior Citizens Associations with more than 10 lakh members across India.
In 2015, the Indian government unveiled the much needed campaign – ‘Digital India’, aimed at connecting India digitally and providing digital access to the disadvantaged. Unfortunately, those above 60 years were left out of its ambit. This govt. program is executed through Common Service Centers (CSC) which provides access points for delivery of essential public utility services, social welfare schemes, healthcare, financial, education and agriculture services.
In rural India, the elder need for digital literacy, is directly connected to a large extent to their means to earn their livelihood, where they can learn the latest technology for agricultural methods, weather conditions, global practices, about the latest Govt. schemes beneficial to them, how to apply for govt. loans and the use the online market space to sells their goods.
HelpAge runs Digital Empowerment Centres for elderly in rural India, in Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, the aim is to make India spoor elders self-sustainable and independent.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- 4 $ (300 INR) – To help a rural elder become digitally literate
- 5 $ (400 INR) – To help an urban elder become digitally literate