Meghalaya Students Motivated by Innovative Learning Experiences

Smart Village Movement, October 13, 2022

“Don’t limit your challenges; challenge your limits.”- Anonymous

Damelarisha Khongsit

When we imagine a school, we see tables, chairs, a writing board, and probably even a computer. But it’s not the same for everyone. There are still many schools in rural areas throughout India where students have never used a computer.

“I never saw a computer in my life.” says Damelarisha. Damelarisha Khongsit is 13 yrs old and resides in Diensong village in the Khatarshnong Laitkroh subdivision of the East Khasi Hills district in Meghalaya, India. She is an 8th grader studying at Diensong Upper Primary School.

Innovation Hub- Sohrarim

The first time Damelarisha saw a computer was at Innovation Hub, a part of the Salesforce Trailblazer Lab at Sohrarim Village. She recalls she was amazed to see and use the computer for the first time in her life. As much as she was excited to learn about computers, she was hesitant to open up and ask questions about them. She enrolled and started coming to Innovation Hub in Sohrarim in October 2021.

Initially, operating a computer was a big challenge for  Damelarisha, but her interest in learning this new skill was greater. Within two months of regular attendance to the lab and encouragement, motivation, and support from her trainer, Damelarisha was learning not just how to operate computers but more complex concepts such as virtual simulation, 3D Designing, and circuit design using Computer Aided Designing.

Way from Diensing to Sohrarim

 Damelarisha has to make an arduous journey to reach the Innovation Hub. This includes climbing 1500 stairs and another 1km journey on foot.

We often take many of our facilities and resources in urban areas for granted, but it takes children living in rural areas a lot of dedication to seek out learning opportunities that will help to gain some skills and knowledge for a better future.

Circuit Designing and 3D Designing

Against all odds, Damelarisha continues coming to the Innovation Hub by making this tiresome commute after a full day at school and finishing household chores. But this journey seems trivial compared to the delight she takes in learning from the Innovation Hub. She enjoys practical projects and wants to learn more about Electronics. She often wonders what more is possible through science and technology. Innovation Hub has opened a new world of learning and kindled curiosity and a new way of thinking and imagination for Damelarisha and many other children like her in Meghalaya.

Innovation Hub, Sohrarim, Meghalaya

Innovation Hub by Curiosity Gym at Sohrarim is a pilot project initiated by Smart Village Movement in collaboration with the Government of Meghalaya. Innovation Hub is a Curiosity Gym’s concept to stimulate STEM learning among students in rural areas.

Smart Village Movement (SVM) seeks to bring more interventions to stimulate STEM learning among the rural children across India. See our blog on the need for more STEM exposure in early years and how it benefits students in their learning and prepares them for this digital age. This technology exposure & project-based hands-on learning is a new concept in the rural education sector & seeks to bring opportunities & skills to students they had no prior access to.

ABOUT SMART VILLAGE MOVEMENT: The Smart Village Movement is a collaborative process facilitated by the SVM organization with the Berkeley-Haas Center of Growth Markets to create a Smart Village ecosystem. We partner with Government, Academia, Corporations, and Rural Communities to foster independence and sustainable rural development in Indian villages and other emerging markets. Our mission is to empower rural people through digital technologies and open innovation platforms to access global markets.