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Family Realise Their Entrepreneurial Potential

In June 2018 at 60, Santosh Bhoi joined the TCS’ Adult Literacy Program, when TCS' intervention to convert the unlettered reached near his home for since pre-Independence.

Santosh was living with his wife and four children in Palsen village, Paikmal block, Bargarh district of Odisha. The village, though eight km off the National Highway, is 19 km far from Paikmal Block headquarters---the nearest coordinate for systematic schooling.

Earlier, Santosh’s poverty-crippled and distressed family was forced to push him into becoming a bonded labourer when he was 11—two years away from entering his teens. The few annas that he earned was not enough to even provide ‘pakhal bhat’ (rice in water—fermented) to all members of a huge family.

Santosh reared his family as he continued to be a daily labourer. He had far less than enough to educate his four children, no matter how much he would have felt the need. It seems he had the will somewhere deep down his heart. So, he found the way. Two of his children, who were past 18 by then, too joined their father as his batchmates in the ALP. 

A salient feature of ALP is to address the issue of illiteracy differently. It also makes the participants realise their potential: It made Santosh and his children realise their potential as a family to become entrepreneurs. ALP dissemination touched a chord somewhere. They got down to a start-up. Santosh broke away from his childhood ‘bonding’ of remaining a daily labourer. 

With awareness that the program created about various government schemes and subsidies, Santosh availed of a benefit that he was eligible for. He created his own roof as an owned-shelter for himself and his family.

As a start-up and to realise his entrepreneurial potential, Santosh and sons created their own goat herd. A year and a few months down the start, Santosh said, “Though I owned an acre of land, due to unfavorable rainfall and poor irrigation facility, I barely got a few quintals of rice once a year, and sometimes not even that. But since I began using it for goat herding, we are assured of our all basic needs.” 

This was possible as, ALP harnesses the potential of the Computer Based Functional Literacy Solution (CBFL), a software developed in-house. A learner is taught to read through a combination of graphics, sound patterns, language structures. It works on the premise that the adults know the sounds of words and the things that they denote, and they need to connect spoken words to written graphics. 

Santosh said,”During my life, I got cheated many times as I was unable to recognize numbers and words while buying ration from the PDS, while in the market or while receiving payment for my daily labour. I was always dependent on others and was asked to pay some ‘bribe’ for their help. I was not even aware of the amount of money with me.” 

Santosh, an ALP Alumnus thus became a man who could count and calculate, and more…

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