“GTA 2013”, “Telecentre Manager”
Gurusinghe Arachchige Deepika priyadharshanee, aged 34 serves as the women telecentre manager since year 2005. Followed by a newspaper advertisement to submit proposal of interest to set up Nenasalas (Nenasala is the brand name for ICTA initiated telecentres in Sri Lanka) in remote villages in Sri Lanka, I was summoned for an interview at the Information & Communication Technology Agency’s (ICTA: Government body mandated to ICT development of the country) in year 2005. By fulfilling basic qualifications and considering my interest and enthusiasm to serve the community by making available ICT facilities, I was given 4 computers and a communication unit to set up a Nenasala in my village. On 18th May 2005, I opened my Nenasala for my community which plays a role of an IT knowledge hub for 14 remote villages in my area. Being supported by ICTA to set up a Nenasala, I was assigned with the main responsibility of taking the dividends of ICT to every village and every citizens of Sri Lanka as to improve the quality of life of the grassroots and enhance the social and economic development of the people. It was a challenging task as ICT was a totally new experience and most of the people had never heard or seen a computer in their life. I was committed to her assigned duties and courageous to take the challenge as I launched a Nenasala awareness campaign in my village schools and public places as to raise awareness among the community. I started IT training courses for students in my village as I identified children as an effective communication channel to send the message of new developments in ICT in their village to the parents and adults. Today, I am an experienced telecentre manager and a successful entrepreneur with over seven years experience in telecentre activities.
Contribution to Digital Literacy and Community Development:
The telecentre implemented under the entrepreneurial model, I caters to 15,000 people living in 22 different villages by upgrading my Nenasala with 14 computers. Turning my Nenasala into a multi-service community information centre, I provide wide range of services such as access to internet, e-mail, telephones, fax, photocopy, computer training classes and other ICT services. Village of Sooriyawewa has limited ICT infrastructure and ICT resources. Therefore my Nenasala is one of the significant locations in the area. One of the main activities of Nenasala is conducting IT training courses for students and youth in the village. So far, I have managed to train nearly 800 students in basic IT training and 200 youth in Graphic designing courses. It has increased the IT literacy rate among grassroots and enhanced socio-economic development of the community as well. In order to offer a recognized certification for the IT training programs of Nenasala, I have managed to register my IT training courses in Vocational Training Authority of Sri Lanka and conducts IT trainings by employing qualified lectures. Therefore, the community finds the training conducted at Nenasala really helpful and recognized. In my way forward, I identified the fact that, though I had taken lot of efforts in bring down grassroots to my Nenasala, there was considerable amount of people who have not visited my Nenasala. In a closer look into these missed out portion, I noted that those people live with extreme poverty and ICT is not at all affordable for them. In order to reach this unreached community, I launched my new project “Nenasakmana” –a mobile telecentre in year 2009. The so called “mobile telecentre”- a small van-sized lorry incorporating four laptop computers powered by a solar panel and with connectivity provided through a dongle is an ideal solution to serve the rural areas of southern province Sri Lanka where most of the people are isolated from the digital world. It is commendable that I am committed to offer services via my mobile library free of charge for the grassroots. Launch of this mobile telecentre is another step taken to allow poorest sections of the society to reap benefits of Information Technology. I am always ready to take challenges and risks and I was convinced that without taking the risks and challenges I will not be able to pave my way forward. I was courageous and hard working to convince people on benefits of ICT which was a difficult task by the time I started my Nenasala. More than generating an income and concentrating on financial gains, I was concerned about serving my community as my travelled village by village with my mobile telecentre offering my service free of charge.
Reference: 1)http://www.telecentremagazine.net/articles/article-details.asp?Titl... 2) http://www.icta.lk/en/information-infrastructure/959-icta-initiated... 3)http://www.ft.lk/2010/10/05/deepika-adjudged-%E2%80%98best-entrepre... 4)http://www.icta.lk/en/icta/89-e-society/621-e-mobile-library-dissem... 5)http://publicwebsite.idrc.ca/EN/Resources/Publications/Pages/Articl... 6) http://www.telecentremagazine.net/articles/article-details.asp?Titl... 7) http://www.thebottomline.lk/2008/04/23/The%20Technology%20Report%20... 8) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WrzZYLJ0Kg 9) http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=ar... 10) http://community.telecentre.org/profiles/blogs/nanasakmana-mobile-l... 11) http://community.telecentre.org/profiles/blogs/ictainitiated-nenasala 12) More Pictures Available at : http://community.telecentre.org/photo/photo/listForContributor?scre