Somti Gathiya is a resident of Village Raipur in District Betul of Madhya Pradesh. She was one of the main facilitators of a self-help group supported by local NGO PRADAN. She got inspired by the functioning at the NGO and hence, wished see herself handling bigger responsibilities in the future. However, being a middle school drop-out, she deemed herself under-qualified to ever fulfill her dream. A year ago, when she came to know about the Community Information Resource Centre established in her village, she was delighted. She could feel a bigger opportunity coming her way. At the same time, she was terrified to even touch a laptop. With regular counseling and capacity building sessions, Somti gained confidence to take up the responsibility of managing the centre. Her keen interest to learn computers paved way for her to be selected as a women entrepreneur of the Community Information Resource Center of village Raipur. Her curiosity & dedication to study about computers has made her one of the best entrepreneurs among the entire team of women, despite being the less educated among all.
Today Somti is not only well versed with the important applications like MS office & the use of internet, but she has also taken charge to digitally literate the villagers. Besides teaching them computer applications, she teaches them how to compose and send e-mails. Villagers no longer need to travel to the nearest town for even the most basic digital service. Somti has been providing digital services, such as photocopy and scanning to the entire village at affordable costs. Somti often uses the internet to search for new fabric designs and patterns, and later shares them with her sister, who is a tailor.
Somti has been engaged in conducting door-to-door mobilisation activities as well as arranging meetings with ASHA and Anganwadi workers. This is to educate the women about the importance of computer literacy in their personal and professional life. Somti’s vision is not only to digitally literate all the whole villagers, but also to digitise important documents and meeting reports for her self-help group. She wants to make her village the first Smart Village of the country.