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We are all Here because of you: Web 2.0

We are all Here because of you: Web 2.0

“Yes, we are here because of Web 2.0” a chorus of young women shouting with excitement- This is a colorful picture I have been carrying in my mind without the slightest fade of all those smiles and cheers of gratitude towards me.

What have I done? I just got them second hand laptops. Each laptop was in the hands of four, most of them in their twenties or below. Web 2.0 has become a dream come true for them. It meant everything to this inclusive group of girls and women who would otherwise remain behind those mudwalls. Each one either had a polio attack or was disabled at birth and was unable to move without ones help. Poverty had rendered with sticks for a few to move and the rest crawled. But now the world visited them under this small thatched roof.

And how did this happen? I would call it a little miracle in the name Shiny was behind this venture.

Life was not so easy for 20 year old Shiny, in a tiny village of Anakuli at Tamilnadu State of India. She too belonged to the community where men are the owners and women are properties. And to add, disability was a curse that put her in the dark.

During the 2011-12 Youth led initiative for women empowerment using Web 2.0 which I was organizing in the interior villages of the district, she came to me with full of hope. “Akka, I know it’s beyond my limits but I want to see the world”. Earlier we had set up an animator’s home for the women to gather for the training. But for Shiny I decided to change the title, yes the word ‘inclusive’ accompanied the program. I should travel to meet her each time. Now I got ready to make the announcement for the differently abled sisters in the community.

I spoke to Shiny’s mother. She was awaiting a new horizon, to see her child smile, stand up speak aloud.

First few weeks I traveled to her place carrying a laptop which I was using. She gained pace in learning, so excited about browsing, her eyes wide open creating her email account. Learning some basic English took some time and the rest all went on steadily.

Unable to bear the torture from her drunkard father, the mother and child decided to move to the town carrying two cloth bags and few books. Then there was no looking back. In a rented single room she explored and connected with the world. She is a degree holder now training twenty other women to touch the world with a single button.

They now can contribute to the community just like how you and I can.

What else can Web 2.0 mean to me when it is making the slightest change in the community count, making countless voices unite to one soul for our rights.

The success stories of Web 2.0 will continue.

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Comments

JaniceW's picture

An inspiring story

I am so deeply moved by this story, and the way you have brought Shiny's life to us, touching our hearts, and opening our minds. When I read this, I was right there in the room with you and all of the other women. This is writing at its most powerful and effective. Thank you for all you are doing to bring light into the lives of those who are rarely seen or heard.

Sharontina's picture

Thanks a ton!

Dear Janice,

Thanks a lot, your comments mean a lot to me. Most encouraging and a driving power to raise ahead.

Love Sis

Merlin Sharontina

Aminah's picture

unity behind web 2.0

What a wonderful initiative.
We need more people like you to help move our society forward.
Thank you for sharing your experiences and hopefully we will be able to replicated similar efforts.

Regards
Aminah

Salaam
Aminah

Sharontina's picture

anytime

More people..........

what i believe is once we empower a woman she does the same to another resulting in a network, a chain of empowered women.

So one at a time itself can work wonders. If a group arises then it would be create a miraculous power. Lets unite to create one.

Love.

Merlin Sharontina

Myrthe's picture

Thank you

Thank you for posting your story, Sharontina! You clearly show how one individual can affect the lives of those around her. I'd be interested to hear more about if and how you and the girls in your group are using web tools such as blogs or social media. I am sure you and they have many stories to share about your lives and activities. I am looking forward to reading more from you.

Sharontina's picture

Thanks!

Dear Myrthe,

You are so kind to take time to read my post. Those words are encouraging and yes, i am on my way to share this with WP in my following stories too. The girl who remains close to me still is Shiny who is still in contact with me. the others around four or five are promoted as animators in their own villages teaching other girls. But here the problem lies in the language for them since they were basically educated in their native language and teaching basic English consumes quiet some time. Then followed by browsing, creating email ids, create theirown biodata etc.

And then finally FB where most find it easy in their language. Though the process is slow the changes are tremendous. Since the word count restricted me from elaborating i had to bring this to the forefront through some other means. And distribution of laptops is also lacking because i get them used ones disposed by the rich ones from the city. and these laptops are actually distributed by the govt for the school students with a minimum configuration. Since the parents themselves dont understand the value of free laptops they just dispose them. some sell it and thats how we are able to make it. But this year the govt has been checking on that making it offensive to sell or buy which again has toughened the situation. taking pcs to these girls and women is not possible because most of the houses dont have power supply. gathering them at the animator's place is not feasible in all the villages.

So these kinds of difficulties keep restricting the effort. still it is running successfully. One day i hope i will be proud to bring a story of these girls each in person into a great presentation for our WP family. I am working on that.

Love

Merlin Sharontina

Myrthe's picture

Sharontina, thank you for

Sharontina, thank you for telling some more about your project and about the different kinds of difficulties you and the other girls faced in your project. It's very interesting to learn more from you!

turtledove100's picture

way to go Sharontina!

Wow! What an amazing and uplifting story Sharontina! We sometimes underestimate the degree of change we can bring about with something so simple that many of us take for granted, such as a second hand laptop. By extending your reach to the differently abled sisters in the community, you've opened up a whole new world to a group of people who, had it not been for you, may not have had access to the power of Web 2.0.
I can only imagine the look on Shiny's face as she first started using the internet in all its wonder! Not only have you changed her life, you've helped to empower her and her mother, enabling them to get away from a very bad living situation and start a new life in town!
You are truly an inspiration and I know this is only the beginning of many more fantastic things to come for all the women and children your life touches!

"Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach" (Clarissa Pinkola Estes, author and poet)

Sharontina's picture

Caring!

Dear Sis,

Your comments reflects so much care for those voiceless women out there. Yes most of the time we never know the values of those that are easily available around us or rendered for free. Shiny is a graduate now. She also teaches the lil ones in the neighbourhood.
Way to go, but with our voices becoming one, i think its not that long.

Love

Merlin Sharontina

CamilaFMScialla's picture

Inspired

Sharontina,

Thank you so much for your powerful story of inspiration. It's wonderful seeing how one person can create so much change within their community. What a wonderful and well-written story. I only hope to see more stories like this impacting hundreds of girls and women worldwide.

Camila

Sharontina's picture

Glad

I am glad that it inspired you. Its the change that it brought that has driven towards taking more effort in bringing that change in the lives of more women. Thanks for the encouragement.

Love

Merlin Sharontina

Hannah B's picture

Thank you!

Thank you for sharing your experience and the story of Shiny!
I am very interested in the work you are doing with women, and I look forward to learning more through your writing.
Best,
Hannah

Sharontina's picture

Thanks

I should thank you too for stopping by to read the post and your interest in knowing the work.

Love

Merlin Sharontina

Cali gal Michelle's picture

As always, I love your

As always, I love your stories and your voice. What compelling writing, always with positive vision and demonstration of great leadership. I know your heart. I hear you.

Let us Hope together-
Michelle
aka: Cali gal

Listener
Sister-Mentor
@CaliGalMichelle
facebook.com/caligalmichelle

Sharontina's picture

Thanks

Thanks for that love and appreciation. i am glad that your are hearing my voice. Its because of the great sisters like you who are encouraging me to make my voice loud and be heard.

Love

Merlin Sharontina

tiffany_anne's picture

So Inspiring!

This is a wonderful and inspiring story of how technology is bringing us closer together, even those who feel most isolated, like the young girl Shiny you profile here. I love the way you bring the power of communication to light with Shiny's story, and I look forward to hearing how the other girl's lives are impacted when they too have the power to see the world through the gift of used laptops.

Thanks for sharing!

Tiffany

Dear Sharontina,

This is a great post. I always look forward to hearing what you have to say. This is a great feat you have done, and its goodness is continuing on. You have planted the seeds with these girls fof knowing the whole world and beyond. Brava! How lovely for Shiny, and for the girls that are receiving this new information. The doors are opening for them because of one person, you. That's amazing!

Keep on doing what you are doing. You are a gift to us all.

With love,
Laura

Laura R.

Sharontina's picture

Oh!

Oh, how you have made my day commenting on this post. I missed you these days. I am honored and driven with a conviction to do more and more, to do all that i can to my women in and around the community, village, district, State, Country and go on to reach the world. Thanks for all that love and support.

Love

Merlin Sharontina

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