“I am forever grateful to Bal Raksha Bharat and Nokia for their visionary initiative that has played a pivotal role in ensuring the availability of my daughter’s identity proof for her rightful entitlements”; said a teary-eyed Durga, mother of Diksha
Diksha Budha, a little girl from Mulegaon’s tribal community faced innumerable challenge since her early childhood. Born in the Mengal family of Ghoti, Diksha faced early challenges due to rift and eventual separation between her parents. Post the parental divorce, little Diksha was living with her mother. But after a while her mother, Durga Bhasme, remarried and at the tender age of two, this little girl found herself under the care of the Bhasme family in Mulegaon
Despite family disputes, Diksha’s determination led her into the realm of education, starting her schooling in Bhokarwadi. However, an unforeseen hurdle emerged when government facilities required essential documents, including the crucial Aadhaar card as identity proof.
Diksha and her mother embarked on a challenging quest to acquire the Aadhaar card, realizing that the girl’s birth certificate that was withheld due to family disputes, was a prerequisite for enrollment. Her father’s refusal to provide the certificate cast a shadow over Diksha’s education, making access to school facilities an uphill battle, thereafter.
Hope dawned on July 28, 2023, when Vijay Pawar, a compassionate social worker from Bal Raksha Bharat, discovered Diksha during a home visit. A conversation with Diksha and her mother unveiled a poignant truth – the absence of support from Diksha’s biological father, left her education hanging in the balance.
In this dire situation, the Smartpur Digital Service Center became a guiding light of hope. Samadhan Bhagat and Bal Raksha Bharat, as Center Facilitator, offered guidance to Durga, the little girl’s mother in navigating the complexities of securing Aadhaar card for her ward.
The turning point came on September 5, 2023, when the first Aadhaar card within the family, belonging to Diksha’s cousin, was successfully updated with their assistance, paving the way for Diksha’s own card.
The culmination of this transformative journey occurred on September 14, 2023, as Diksha’s Aadhaar card was officially issued. On the same day, the family received the Aadhaar card acknowledgment, symbolizing not only the acquisition of a document but the restoration of the girl’s identity and rightful access to education and other government entitlements.
This little girl’s story extends beyond herself. The Nokia Smartpur project, operating across 40 villages in Nashik district of Maharashtra, has become a catalyst for change. Countless students, including Diksha, are benefiting from this initiative, finding their identity through the Aadhaar card facilitated by this groundbreaking project.
Diksha Budha Mengal’s journey encapsulates the resilience of individuals facing adversity and highlights the positive change that community-driven projects can bring to the lives of those in need. Her story serves as a beacon of hope, demonstrating the transformative impact of collaborative efforts and the profound importance of identity in unlocking a brighter future.
Nokia and Bal Raksha Bharat have forged a partnership since 2014 to create ideal smart villages, in line with Government of India’s vision of Digital India. The model acknowledges that mere availability of digital tools and Internet connectivity alone does not make a village smart; hence emphasis has been given towards integration and optimum utilisation of resources for social, ecological and economic impact that truly makes a difference and digitally strengthens development. SMARTPUR is focused across six pillars of intervention, Education, Health, Livelihood, Governance, Finance and Entertainment.
In India the SMARTPUR project is being implemented in across five states of Assam- Dhemaji, Maharashtra- Nashik, Andhra Pradesh- Nellor, Rajasthan-Dungarpur and in the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir. A total of 150 such centers have come up till date that has a youth Centre Facilitator.