Wednesday, 22August2018

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They learn and earn online. Meet the Google girls of rural India

I have been flaunting a pair of handmade red earrings all day long. I bought it from a young girl in a tiny village in India, who fought against her family’s objection to being a working woman, and learned the ropes of the internet.

Saira quietly sneaks up behind me to see what I am scribbling in my notebook. She is hoping to catch my attention to show me the beautiful earrings, bobble heads, and hair bands she has made using skills she picked up from Youtube videos. Saira is also curious to know why I am writing with a pen, and not using a laptop or a phone. She offers me her smartphone.

I set my notebook aside, because her craftwork catches my eye. The finishing on them can rival any piece of jewelry I have seen in popular department stores.

“Learning to use the internet has changed my life,” she tells me in Telugu, the third most widely spoken language in southern India.

Frankly, Saira’s proclamation sounded a bit over the top to my city-bred mind, but I quickly realized that Saira wasn’t playing to the gallery. She meant what she said.

For Saira, the internet brings a source of income that is helping her family of five in a big way.

The teenager, like many other women in her village, has been learning new skill sets like bangle making, sewing and stitching, and other crafts from online videos, then translating those skills into a business. Saira and her friends sell their wares to people in nearby villages, earning about US$3 a day. That’s double the income of her father, a tailor by profession.
This is an excerpt of the article published on Tech In Asia. You can read the full article here.