When technology meets grandma
Meet a 58-year-old grandmother, an ASHA worker in a village, who has found a tech guru in her 16-year-old granddaughter and is learning the nuances of the internet for work as well as entertainment
Aishwarya Tripathi 16 Aug 2023 9:17 AM GMT
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
Champa skimmed through the applications on her phone looking for the letter F that she knows will lead her to Facebook. Her 16-year-old granddaughter Aarushi, has taught her to navigate the social networking application.
But instead she clicked on another F — Flipkart — an online shopping app. This happens often, laughed the 58-year-old Champa, who had never till recently handled a smartphone or accessed the internet.
Champa is an ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) in Banthra village of Sarojini Nagar block in Lucknow. She is a part of the one million frontline female health workers who are the backbone of India’s rural healthcare system.
“When I started as an ASHA in 2006, I was paid Rs 400 a month and everything was done on paper. These phones were not even there. But now the work has increased, and I now have to enter data through this bada phone,” she told Gaon Connection, and showed her smartphone that she held with both hands.
In addition to entering data on the government’s application e-kavach — a digital portal launched in 2022 for recording immunisation and health data, Champa also has to keep in touch with roughly 1,300 people from Banthra village who are under her monitoring. Typing messages on WhatsApp was a challenge.
“But, my poti told me that I can press a button and just speak into my phone and my message is conveyed to my ASHA group. I do it just like she taught me and it all became easy,” she said.
Till a few months ago, Champa had to seek the help of her granddaughter every time she had to enter data on e-kavach, or send messages on WhatsApp.
“Eventually she told me that she can’t do it forever and I will have to learn this. So I am learning,” Champa smiled.
Also Read: Leisure, love, and work — The internet is empowering and revolutionising the lives of rural women
Aarushi said teaching her grandmother was difficult.
“She is a good student but at times gets angry if I tell her too many things at once or ask her to do things on her own,” said the 16-year-old who studies in class 12th. The teenager herself is aspiring to explore a world completely unfamiliar to her through the internet.
“I want to go to South Korea sometime and watch BTS (the Korean music band). I have read online that the people are sweet there,” she said.
While she is not sure her grandmother would approve of her dream to visit South Korea, Arushi said they both enjoyed window shopping on the internet.
“She shows me sarees on this phone and they are reasonably priced and the quality is good too,” said Champa.
After much hand holding, Champa can now shop online. She selects the sarees she wants and puts them in the shopping cart. Aarushi just has to order it for her.
Without any help, she also goes on YouTube for her morning bhajans.
“It is good to learn this. There are too many things which we don’t know yet and the internet can help us,” said Champa.
Then, with Arushi’s watchful eyes on her, she sent off a message on WhatsApp to several people who she administers as an ASHA, about ways to protect oneself in the heatwave and keep cool.