Amazon India has kicked off the third year of its annual festive donations campaign—‘Delivering Smiles'— as part of which it will setup over 140 computer labs across the country. In previous years, as a result of COVID-related school closures, Amazon donated laptops, tablets, smartphones and other digital devices that allowed underprivileged students continue their learning online and at home. With schools now open, the program will focus on innovative and sustainable ways to strengthen digital infrastructure in government schools and community centres that serve as shared learning spaces for students.
Amazon will partner with about 35 reputed nonprofit organisations such as Learning Links Foundation, Leadership for Equity, Akanksha Foundation, Akshayapatra, Katha among others, and work with these organisations to support their specific infrastructure requirements. NGOs today have varied infrastructure needs based on the design of their programs, and Amazon is looking to support these NGOs to further their own programs with the help of digital infrastructure. The program has so far been able to upskill young people, make classroom learning fun and support capacity building of people with special needs or disabilities.
Speaking about the devices received through the campaign last year, Rajesh Soundararajan, Chief Sustainability Officer, at Katha, an NGO said, “Amazon's Delivering Smiles program has empowered over 280 grassroots educators to deliver Katha's child-centric, facilitator-led content to our remote partners as part of our 300 million campaign to get all children reading literate. The Echo Dots, tablets and phones allowed remote educators to seamlessly access text, audio, video, and gamified up-to-date courses from our learning platform. This resulted in increased attention, retention and results, and truly delivered smiles for educators and children.”
To ensure sustainability and continued use of this infrastructure, Amazon is also working closely with nonprofit partners, government schools and community institutions to build their capacity and ensure the regular usage of these devices through trainers, grade-appropriate curriculum and learning modules on digital safety and cyber security.
Anita Kumar, Head - Amazon in the Community, CSR – India & APAC, said, “We understand that nonprofits working to solve diverse problems depend on technology to scale, however digital infrastructure is often a bottleneck and they may not always have ways to solve for this. With our donations as part of the festive season, we hope to play our small part in bridging this gap.”
School teachers play a key role in facilitating positive learning outcomes for students. When equipped with the right training and capacity building opportunities – especially for subjects like Computer Science – many teachers have found innovative ways of introducing these concepts within their classrooms. As part of the festive donations campaign, through its flagship philanthropy program Amazon Future Engineer, Amazon is also collaborating with nonprofit partners Leadership for Equity, Learning Links Foundation and government organisations to provide opportunities for government school teachers to learn Computer Science and Computational Thinking, before taking it to their students. Amazon will provide digital devices—including setting up labs, laptops and sensor kits—to support teachers who go beyond their domain to take Computer Science education to their students. The program will be rolled out in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to over 5,000 teachers. Amazon's dream is to enable even the remotest school teacher with the tools, to leverage technology and build 21st-century skills for their students.
In total, Amazon will set up 140 full-fledged computer labs and support an additional 500 teachers with tablet labs, laptops and sensor kits to their respective schools. The initiative will reach over 5,000 teachers and impact more than one lakh students across the country.