How giving away an old smartphone can help someone go digital

About 40 to 70% of children in some states of India still do not have access to digital devices.

These statistics were uncovered in 2020-21 by the report, Initiatives by School Education Sector and included states such as Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Two years into the pandemic, these numbers will basically make you swoon.

With schools across the country operating digitally, the gap between the rich and the underprivileged has never been as clear as it is today. While children with access to the best digital devices have adapted to the new normal of digital life, there are still children who do not have a single smartphone in the family.

Amazon India

This digital divide puts these children two years behind their peers, causing many to drop out of school and take odd jobs or get married at an early age.

On the other hand, urban professionals like us, who have access to the best technology, don’t think twice before upgrading to a new device and discarding the old one. Little do we realize that the simple act of donating our old smartphone can shape the future of a young mind.

Launched in October this year, Amazon India’s Delivering Smiles initiative aims to bridge this wide digital divide in the country. Through this initiative, Amazon India will directly facilitate the contribution of digital tools among students and youth from marginalized communities, and will also contribute to India’s digitization goals.

Amazon is donating smartphones to the needy
Amazon India

Amazon will provide 20,000 digital devices directly to underprivileged youth in partnership with over 150 non-profit organizations large and small, affecting over 100,000 students across India. Millions of Amazon customers can contribute to cash donations on Amazon Pay or give away their old mobile phones that will be refurbished and distributed to provide digital learning devices for young people.

One such beneficiary of the Delivering Smile Initiative is Anand, a Class 4 student. His family was in dire need of funds during the lockdown and a digital education seemed like a distant reality to him. In partnership with Kushi NGO, Amazon India’s Delivering Smiles initiative turned this into a reality.

Today, Anand not only learns maths on the tablet, but also learns new crafts every day on YouTube and enjoys a game or two during his spare time.

Amazon is donating old smartphones to kids
Amazon India

Meet Himashu, 12, a resident of Bhora Kalan, Haryana. Enrolled in class 8 and a promising student who loves maths, grew up aspired to be an engineer. However, the lockdown interrupted his studies.

His father, a newspaper salesman, lost his job during the pandemic and could not afford to buy his son a smartphone to continue his education. Teachers and NGOs associated with his school decided to help him with Amazon India’s Delivering Smiles initiative. They not only helped her to get a tab but also helped her to continue her studies.

Determined to fulfill his dreams, Himanshu says, “I will use my tab to prepare for my competitive exams!”

Another student who has benefited from this initiative is Anita, a Class 9 student. Based in Bangalore, Anita’s parents are daily wage workers who cannot afford to buy her a digital device for school.

At the time of the pandemic, the family went through terrible horrors, which led to Anita working on construction sites to support her family along with her elder brother Devraj P, who is in 10th standard.

As per her past records, Anita has an excellent academic track and is also interested in singing and poetry. She also dreams of becoming a teacher one day. Thanks to Delivering Smile’s refurbished tablet, Anita and her brother Devraj are now able to virtually resume their studies. It took him some time to adjust but now he is well versed in virtual learning.

So, the next time you think you’ve outgrown an instrument, think of a child who will appreciate it more than you can imagine.


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