“Info Ladies” Bring Internet to Remote Villages on Bicycle
Part entrepreneur, part public service provider, Info Ladies are young women—usually undergraduates from middle-class rural families—who are recruited by local development group D.Net, trained for three months to use a computer, the Internet, a printer, and a camera, and then helped to secure loans to purchase equipment and bikes. They then take their services to rural Indian villages and charge for their services. 200 takas, the equivalent of $2.40, buys an hour of Skype time, for example.
In the neighboring village of Saghata, an Info Lady is 16-year-old Tamanna Islam Dipa’s connection to social media.
“I don’t have any computer, but when the Info Lady comes I use her laptop to chat with my Facebook friends,” she said. “We exchange our class notes and sometimes discuss social issues, such as bad effects of child marriage, dowry and sexual abuse of girls.”
The Info Ladies also provide a slew of social services — some for a fee and others for free.
They sit with teenage girls where they talk about primary health care and taboo subjects like menstrual hygiene, contraception and HIV. They help villagers seeking government services write complaints to authorities under the country’s newly-enacted Right to Information Act.
They talk to farmers about the correct use of fertilizer and insecticides. For 10 takas (12 cents) they help students fill college application forms online. They’re even trained to test blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Read more from the AP.
Image: via AP