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Teen writes computer manual for kids in India

Jaiv Doshi holds a workshop to introduce  Scratch programming by building a simple robot.
Jaiv Doshi holds a workshop to introduce young girls to Scratch programming by building a simple robot at the “School of Life” in July 2018 in Mumbai.

A tech-savvy teen from Carlsbad is creating computer manuals for kids in India and showing students how to get on educational websites.

In a packed classroom in Mumbai, India, a tech-savvy teen from Carlsbad is handing out computer manuals and showing students how to get on educational websites. Jaiv Doshi, 16, is set on sharing his computer know-how and giving the kids a leg up in the world of technology, an opportunity they might not otherwise have coming from poor areas of the city.

Students look at Jaiv Doshi's computer basics manual
Students look at Jaiv Doshi’s computer basics manual in Dec. 2019 at the Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar Municipal School in Mumbai, India.

Jaiv wrote an eight-page computer literacy manual in three languages — English, Hindi and Marathi (a regional language) — for schoolchildren to understand the basics of how to use a computer and the internet and to access educational websites, such as Codecademy, Duolingo and YouTube. He also created a website, which was an extension of the booklet that explained commonly researched topics in both English and Hindi, but ran out of funding for the site.

“A lot of these students attend government-run municipal schools, where the language of education is an Indian language like Hindi and Marathi instead of English. It is hard for kids to have computer literacy when computers and most of the internet functions are in English,” said Jaiv, a senior at Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad.

To solve the problem, Jaiv combined his love for technology and knowledge of regional Indian languages to spearhead an effort to create and distribute free computer literacy booklets.

The booklets are distributed as one of the community service efforts of a nonprofit called Dia Foundation that he and his sister Bansini Doshi, who just graduated from the University of Southern California, started in 2013.

Since 2018, 3,500 copies have been hand-delivered to young students in municipal and inner-city schools in and around Mumbai by Jaiv and Dia Foundation volunteers as part of the “Learn at Dia” project. The booklet is still in circulation.

“My sister and I founded Dia Foundation with the spirit that we can create meaningful change in communities we have personal connections with, be it through small activities like donating notebooks and school supplies, or big initiatives such as teaching a generation of children computer literacy or donating wheelchairs to a hospital,” Jaiv said.

Most recently, the foundation has donated food, blankets and cleaning supplies to help needy community members in Carlsbad and Vista during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“When we lived in Mumbai and Northern California — wherever we were, Jaiv would go out of his way to help others who have less,” said his father, Pulin Doshi.

“Since a young age, I’ve loved tinkering with all things technology,” said Jaiv, who won first prize for his science projects in his school two years in row. One was titled “Artificial Intelligence Robots” and the other “Project MIND,” a robot he made that is controlled with the mind using EEG (electroencephalogram) Sensors.

“But growing up in Mumbai, I noticed other kids did not have the same opportunities I did,” Jaiv said. “By showing them educational tools to self-learn new skills in their native language, our booklets help them effectively harness the power of the internet.”

During summer break over the last two years, Jaiv visited many of the schools that received manuals to guide students through using a computer.

The students affectionately refer to Jaiv as “brother” and share with him in Hindi their plans and dreams of what they hope to do when they grow up. Jaiv has received hand-written letters in Marathi, thanking him for the help.

The booklets had instructions to pass them on to others in their family and community.

“It was empowering to see that our students did pass them on,” Jaiv said.

Students at the Pantnagar Communit School in Pantnagar, India show Jaiv Doshi's computer basics manual in Dec 2018
Students at the Pantnagar Communit School in Pantnagar, India show Jaiv Doshi’s computer basics manual in Dec 2018

“Some of my most memorable interactions were when I or members of my family were recognized while walking on the street, and thanked for our efforts,” Jaiv said. “One particular old lady mentioned that her grandson showed her our Marathi booklet, and she said it helped her understand computers in her own language. That interaction really touched my heart.”

For more information about the foundation, visit http://www.dia-foundation.com.

— Linda McIntosh is a writer for The San Diego Union-Tribune

Jaiv Doshi brings a donation of quilts to the La Posada shelter in Carlsbad during the pandemic.


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