Fw: CI WebWorld News for today, Friday, 4/6/2004: "TraditionalSkills, Lo

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  • Subject: Fw: CI WebWorld News for today, Friday, 4/6/2004: "TraditionalSkills, Local Content and ICTs" (fwd)
  • From: "Frederick Noronha (FN)" <fred at bytesforall dot org>
  • Date: Sat, 5 Jun 2004 00:56:52 +0530 (IST)
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      ---------------------------------------------------------
      Frederick Noronha * Freelance Journalist * Goa, India
      f r e d @ b y t e s f o r a l l . o r g 
      Ph 832.2409490 / 832.2409783 Cell 9822 122436
      784 Near Lourdes Convent, Sonarbhat, Saligao 403511 Goa 
      ---------------------------------------------------------
      ---------- Forwarded message ----------
      
      
      
      
      > Traditional Skills, Local Content and ICTs
      > 
      > (WebWorld regularly reports on the Seelampur Community ICT Centre, a
      > learning centre for girls and women located in a high-density,
      > low-income area in India's capital New Delhi.  Today, Savithri
      > Subramanian, UNESCO's research co-ordinator for the ICT for Poverty
      > Alleviation project in India, writes on "Traditional Skills, Local
      > Content and ICTs". )
      > 
      > 'I returned to the centre after going around the neighbourhood for
      > sometime. To my surprise, at the centre two women from tailoring classes
      > had made fabulous design of short kurtas with fantastic colours in
      > Photoshop on the computer. They appeared very happy with their efforts.
      > A few others were busy in looking at a site on Indian fashion. One of
      > them wanted to see what was Ms. World wearing on the final day of the
      > contest. She was told about this site by one of her friends to whom the
      > desk manager had shown the site a day before' (Seelampur
      > researcher's field notes 2 September 2003) 
      > 
      > The Seelampur ICT centre is located in the predominantly Muslim area in
      > northeast  Delhi. It is a very densely populated part of the city with
      > poor civic amenities. Family incomes are low and are earned mostly
      > through self-employment and education to higher levels is almost absent
      > especially for girls. Thus, the center offers opportunities to such
      > young women. 
      > 
      > Women who come to the center use computers with a lot of apprehension
      > when they start. But gradually this gives way to enthusiasm that
      > combined with their dedicated involvement creates many interesting
      > possibilities. They enjoy working on Paint Brush and other creative
      > tools like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and Corel available on the
      > computers as these provide the women means to strengthen their
      > traditional design skills.
      > 
      > After a few days of attending the center, many also start bringing to
      > the center embroidery work and even paintings that they have made. Many
      > of their designs are clear and uncomplicated and drawing from both their
      > tradition and their own observation.
      > 
      > Datamation Foundation is a local private trust involved in development
      > initiatives involving ICTs particularly in the areas of gender equality
      > and marginalisation.  This initiative, a collaboration with the Babool
      > Ulm Madarsa, has in many ways encouraged local art, design and
      > handicraft in the process of learning computers. 
      > 
      > Responding to the girls' needs the centre also conducts lessons in
      > tailoring and other skills such as embroidery. This training is
      > complemented by the easily accessible ICT facilities at the centre. 
      > 
      > The girls bring local traditional designs and patterns of embroidery to
      > the centre. These are computerised using scanners and digital cameras.
      > Then the pictures are modified, improved and more innovative designs are
      > developed with various colour combinations. 
      > 
      > As a young unmarried woman of 18 years said "Why should I limit myself
      > to drawing on paper when I can now work on the computer? Creating my
      > design through the computer is challenging but gives me much more scope
      > too". Some of the participants download patterns from the internet and
      > then evolve their own designs using traditional and modern tools as
      > their basis. It is the same with the application of intricate Mehendi
      > (henna) patterns traditionally made on the hands and feet of women.
      > Internet in conjunction with eNRICH, a local web-based browser is being
      > used imaginatively to record and showcase local talent and knowledge.  
      > 
      > The girls are keen to acquire certain vocational skills while learning
      > to handle computers. In order to address this, CD based vocational
      > skills learning packages were developed in-house where the participants
      > have been actively involved. 
      > 
      > The packages, with a voice-over option in both English and Hindi,
      > include henna application and designs, making of soft toys and rag
      > dolls, tailoring and are based on their traditional knowledge. Gradually
      > their traditional skills and training at the centre get transformed into
      > exquisite and varied products. They are getting a platform both at the
      > national and international level such as at the Euro 2004 Summit to both
      > display their skills and facilitate sales.
      > 
      > "We will strive to find means to make these girls lead their lives in
      > their own terms and with self-respect and dignity", Sarita Sharma, the
      > coordinator-researcher says.  In Seelampur, many new avenues are being
      > explored to enable these girls with means for an independent income, a
      > need that becomes more focused for them after coming to the centre and
      > with increasing awareness on various issues. They also desire to be able
      > to support or help their families financially.
      > 
      > +++
      > 
      > The Seelampur Centre is one of nine project sites covering a range of
      > poor individuals and communities in a variety of technology mixes. Each
      > one has a different social and technological access model that aim to
      > addresses both the root cause of poverty and barriers to ICT usage by
      > poor. A trained research worker in each site feeds the research findings
      > regularly to the project to ensure the adaptability of the access model
      > to suit the evolving usage needs. Working with parallel UNESCO
      > initiatives, the projects are operated in partnership with NGOs,
      > governments, universities, private companies, media and technology
      > groups as well as poor women, youth and their families.
      > 
      > Links
      > 
      > * Datamation Foundation, http://www.datamationfoundation.org 
      > * eNRICH <http://www.enrich.nic.in/>
      > * www.unesco.org/webworld/