The Optimist Citizen
Promila Bahadur

How Promila Bahudar’s work in spreading computer literacy has empowered hundreds of rural women across Uttar Pradesh

In 1991, India, it wasn’t usual for a 14-year old teenager to teach herself on how to use a computer. But Promila Bahadur accomplished this and what she did with this knowledge has profoundly changed the lives of many young women in a poor village just 15 kilometres from her hometown of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.
Promila discovered that young girls in the village of Nizam Pur had no opportunities for education, so she started visiting the village and began teaching the basics of computer and spreading computer literacy to young women. In 2004, pooling in her own resources, she started founded the Guru Computer Education Center (CSC), (later renamed the Guru Institute of Information Technology). To date, Promila has trained over 2000 individuals, including children, youth, women, and elderly.

Her work got the attention of the Government of Uttar Pradesh and they approved her as the first Village Level Entrepreneur (VLE) to start a Common Service Center for improving the day-to-day needs of rural Indians. Promila’s life has changed in many ways since starting her Institute. She has completed her MCA and MTech degrees in computer science and also obtained her Ph.D. in Computer Science in 2012 from Uttrakhand Technical University in India. Her scholarly work is on multidisciplinary research in natural language processing, which involves incorporation of English, Sanskrit, and computer languages. It included development of a complete algorithmic framework for Rule Based Machine Translation in a “Two-Way Model”. The design and development of it presents a simplified approach for translation and its software is developed on .Net Framework, named as “EtranS” for translating English language sentences into Sanskrit.

In 2015 Promila came to Maharishi University of Management (MUM) in Fairfield, Iowa as an assistant professor of computer science. She still maintains daily contact with her Institute in India and continues to support it financially.

Promila’s next plan is to establish a computer education hub among a cluster of six Indian villages. The hub would also provide other services including banking, insurance, and pharmacy. Promila said to a leading Indian News portal that she is motivated to help women become computer literate because, ”One of my high school teachers told me that ‘a literate mother can give a literate society.’ So women’s empowerment is a must.”

Gunjan Mishra | TOC

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