Express press service
VILLUPURAM: When the Wikimedia Foundation, headquartered in San Francisco, recently decided to choose two IT-based organizations in India for its software development hackathon grant to improve its free educational website ( wikipedia.org), no one really counted a Villupuram small business. .
Raison? The nondescript rural town of Tamil Nadu was one of the most backward districts in the country not so long ago and never featured on the global computer map.
But the Foundation focused on the Villupuram GNU/Linux Users Group (V-GLUG), said to be India’s first free software organization, where volunteers are rural youths trained on high-tech software for free. The association advocates the use of free software in digital tools, in particular computers and smartphones.
Professionals in high-level positions in IT conglomerates reach out to young people and offer them free training on coding programs. V-GLUG volunteers also include students from various government arts colleges in the district.
“One of the volunteers is the son of a single mother, who has worked much of his life as a domestic helper. Another is the daughter of a day labourer. Many volunteers come from disadvantaged families. teaches them crucial programming languages like Python for free,” said V-GLUG manager U Karkee. The new Indian Express.
Although the neighborhood is often labeled “backward”, technology has helped put Villupuram on the path to development. “There is nothing like the application of technologies to stimulate the economic and social growth of young people in rural areas, if we teach them the right ways to use them. This is the idea behind V-GLUG “, says lead coordinator J Syed Khaleel.
The organization has been training young people for eight years and several of its alumni have landed jobs in top IT companies. A Venkatesan, a Computer Science student at Arignar Anna Arts College, Villupuram, says, “With such an amazing opportunity to work with Wikimedia, I feel like I now have a golden ticket to better my future. never would have had the chance to interact with global coding engineers if I hadn’t signed up with V-GLUG.”
Another V-GLUG initiative is a grassroots campaign to provide technology education to 100 villages in the district. Programs in this regard have already been completed in eight villages.
“Some people have this misconception that men are more comfortable with technological advancements and their creation, and that women are just the recipients of what is created. Here we train rural women in coding programs This is extremely beneficial as software coding can fetch high salaries just a few months after starting to work, so women in these rural areas contribute to their family finances from an early age, which will make them economically independent,” says S Viji, one of the campaign organizers.
The Wikimedia grant will help these young people set higher goals in life and because of them, this “most backward” neighborhood has a lot to gain.