April 28th, 2008
Today was a bad day. The sweltering heat and humidity of a Calcutta evening saw Bina in a cyber cafe, guiding five journalists out of the ten who were present, on how to login into the Bowbazar Diaries blog. The more we are entering the process of imparting digital literacy, the more the challenges are becoming clear. It is a whole new world for these youth, as they hail from extremely marginalised communities, and everything starting from the interface in English, getting a feel of the keyboard, and the idea of having a “cyber address” (in the form of one's own email id or blog space) as compared to a “geographical address” is completely new.
Within the first challenging half hour, however, the computers shut down, the cafe technician was away, there was no other cyber cafe in sight, the young people thought they'd had enough practice, and they wanted to be out of that stuffy room.
A series of unfortunate events.
We are really thinking of ways of bringing back the dynamism and involvement of the earlier Diaries sessions, and also how best to approach digital literacy with these youth. Instead of following through with the idea of doing Para Action Projects with them (which they had seemed to be keen at earlier, and later lost interest), we have decided to focus on Writing. We are looking forward to reading what observations they bring back next week about the Bowbazaar footpaths, which they have themselves suggested as a good subject for their next assignment.