Nokia Mobile (HMD Global), along with Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation (KSCF), recently announced that it is contributing to enable online learning for over 6000 needy children by donating over 1740 Nokia smartphones worth ₹1.65 crore (€190k, $227.2k).
Now, the backstory that lead this collaboration is as follows. Last year, the pandemic took everyone by surprise as it proved to be quite distressing for everyone in some way or the other. It introduced substantial changes in the education system. Schools and universities shifted to online mode for the classes, but not every child had the setup to attend the classes on the internet.
To have a better understanding of the actual conditions surrounding the status of education during the lockdown, KSCF, founded by the Indian Nobel Peace Prize winner, Kailash Satyarthi, carried a study on the impact of lockdown and economic disruption on poor rural households with special reference to children.
The study involved two surveys. The first survey had respondents in the form of 53 NGOs serving the children across the country, in which 85% of all participating NGOs and 89% of NGOs operating on the subjects like education, poverty, and livelihood, felt that the number of cases involving parents withdrawing their wards from schools might increase after the lockdown ends.
The other survey included the rural area families from five Indian states, namely, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Rajasthan. The output of this survey is that the children from 20% of the families are at the brink of discontinuing themselves from going to schools. About 6%, out of 20%, made their point that they will not hesitate to retreat their children from schools because of their economic instability. The other 14% are waiting for the situation to unfold entirely, as they are not sure about what they will do.
Concerned about this uncertainty among the families, HMD Global, along with KSCF, has come forward to ensure that the children do not miss out on their education. Announcing the same, Sanmeet Singh Kochhar, Vice President, India and MENA, HMD Global said,
“When it comes to driving positive social impact, education and skill development for the youth, has always been a key focus area for our CSR efforts in India. Our effort towards education takes inspiration from the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4), focused on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education. We believe that smartphone technology contributes to SDG 4 by enabling unhindered access to educational content anytime, anywhere.
Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi recently mentioned that in order to build an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, the Indian youth needs self-confidence, which is directly impacted by their education and their skills. We believe that India’s youth should have access to opportunities to educate themselves. Technology is a great facilitator to make this possible.
Through our association with Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation, we are keen to play a part in helping our country’s underprivileged children and youth realise their self-confidence through undisrupted access to education.”
A part of the benefaction has already taken place as some children have received the Nokia phones through the Bal Mitra Gram and Bal Mitra Mandal. The child survivors of exploitation at the Bal Ashram, a long-term shelter home near Jaipur, are the ones who will be receiving the phones next. Furthermore, the phones will be distributed to the first-generation learners of a Banjara community that lives near the Bal Ashram.
The Nokia smartphones will be loaded with relevant educational apps before handing it over to the children in the presence of their guardians. The children will be trained by KSCF on handling the smartphones and accessing educational content online responsibly and safely. With this initiative, HMD Global and KSCF expect to touch the lives of over 6000 needy children across seven Indian states, namely, Bihar, Delhi, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.