August 21 2021 by Admin
Banangku Momin, the founder of Garo Hills Development Foundation (GHDF), was born and brought up in Tura, Meghalaya. Upon possessing a graduation degree in Computer Applications, he started GHDF foundation in 2018 on a mission to eradicate information poverty. GHDF was selected as one of the Top 25 Prime Entrepreneurs of Cohort 1 in 2019. Banangku Momin has a deep understanding that marginalized communities living in socio-economic backwardness and information poverty can be empowered to improve their lives on their own, simply by providing them access to information and knowledge by using digital tools. On this thought, he founded GHDF and aims to connect special groups or communities of Garo Hills to bring them out of digital darkness and equip them with access to information.
As an organization, GHDF has strong team of more than 30 employees, and have marked its presence in more than 7 locations across 3 districts of Garo Hills i.e. 2 in North Garo Hills (Bajengdoba and Rari) , 1 in South West Garo Hills (Ampati), 4 in West Garo Hills (Tura, Dadenggre, Darenggre and Gambegre), and more than 10 centers are in the pipeline. Mr. Momin shares, ‘the trust and belief that people have put in us — be it our beneficiaries or those who have funded us keeps us moving forward.’ GHDF has trained more than 2,000 youths and women through different ICT tools. They have also trained 11 visually impaired and 16 differently abled students.”
“Everywhere you go today, work is dependent on computers. People are posting jobs online and are applying for jobs online. Computers have become an extremely important part of our daily lives and that is the reason I joined GHDF”, says Sengjan , a 40 year old visually impaired teacher at Montfort School, Tura. A team of two from GHDF would spend a few hours every week at the special education school, and teach Sengjan and others how to use a laptop. Though these two trainers have trained hundreds of students in digital literacy, teaching the visually impaired was challenging. Those who have the luxury of sight, operating the mouse/trackpad is a natural extension of using a computer/laptop. While for those visually impaired, a mouse or trackpad is of little value. They watched videos on YouTube and used the pedagogy to train students of Montfort Centre for Education. They worked really hard and might not have been the perfect trainers but Sengjan has learnt enough to operate a computer on his own now and he is a living inspiration.
“There are hardly any schools or institutes that trains specially abled persons like deaf, mute or blind persons in digital literacy. Since there has been no policy or project till date, I strongly feel that they are being further excluded from their rights. As we see most of the websites have been designed keeping in mind the specially abled, and the assistance they require. It was a tough time for all the entrepreneurs during the pandemic, however, PRIME has supported me in many ways in the past one year. The regular bootcamps, mentoring sessions, online marketing, etc have majorly helped me to grow and develop my business. I have received mentoring from subject experts representing IIM Calcutta Innovation Park. I have also received the Kick Start Grant of Rs. 5 lakh under PRIME ID, which I am going to use for product development, including new courses like Photography, Tally, and Tourism in the curriculum of my training center,” shares Banangku, the founder of GHDF.
GHDF was awarded Rs. 1 lakhs as a part of CM’s E-Champion Awards on 21st January 2020. GHDF is registered under Meghalaya Societies Act 1983. They recently received the PRIME Entrepreneurship fund of Rs 5 Lakh which was launched by the Honorable Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Shri Conrad Sangma on 19th February, 2021 during the PRIME Entrepreneurship Awards. With these funds, they are planning to invest in hiring more manpower, buying more computers, and expanding their centers with more new courses like Tally, Video Editing and Tourist Guiding.