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In Photo: Children pose with volunteers in front of the newly opened computer centre at Lohagarh. Photo courtesy: Prashant Acharya

By A Newsman

Mirik, 23 August: IT might sound a little strange to all tech-savvy netizens that some 30-odd kids at a tea garden not very far from Siliguri, got to see computers for the first time in their life on Sunday.

This is one of the many reality bites spread over India’s vast underbelly! But thankfully, at least some individuals or group are coming forward to bridge this divide.

Sparsh, a little known NGO based out of north Bengal, on Sunday started a free computer training centre at a local school at Lohagarh Tea Estate, which is located 32 km off Siliguri.  They plan to offer free computer education to underprivileged children and held them become self-reliant.

The move has come as a huge gift to the children of the tea garden plagued by poverty and lack of social infrastructure.

“I am very happy to see a computer for the first time in my life; before today I saw it only on television and books,” said seven years old Pranesh Khatri, one of the many children who turned up at the inauguration of the computer centre today.

Lohagarh, lying under the jurisdiction of autonomous Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) till date lacks in most of the modern day amenities. The students here are unfamiliar with Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp because a vast patch of the area is out of mobile range.

On the launch of the computer centre today, Pankaj Mondal of Sparsh said that their aim was to make take computer education to all needy people. “To begin with, we have equipped the centre with two computer sets; if numbers of students grows, we shall add more.”

GTA member Champa Bivar, who inaugurated the facility lauded the move and assured all required cooperation to make it sustain.

Instructor of the center, Manoj Chhetri said: “The 30 students who have enrolled so far will be imparted training five days a week towards the evening.”


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