In Conversation with Anupama Katkar, Leading the Charge in Cybersecurity Education and Community Development
In this exclusive interview, India CSR’s Editor Rusen Kumar talks with Anupama Katkar, Chief of Operational Excellence at Quick Heal Technologies and the Chairperson of Quick Heal Foundation, about the transformative “Cyber Shiksha for Cyber Suraksha” initiative in Barpeta, Assam. This program is a strategic endeavor to embed cyber awareness among the youth, turning them into “Cyber Warriors” and steering the entire community towards a digitally safer future.
What is the aim of the “Cyber Shiksha for Cyber Suraksha” initiative in Barpeta, Assam?
With the “Cyber Shiksha for Cyber Suraksha” initiative, our aim is to sow the seeds of cyber awareness in the heart of Barpeta, nurturing youth to become Cyber Warriors. Our goal is to empower the community by imparting knowledge and skills that will enable them to navigate the digital landscape safely, guiding the people of Barpeta towards a safer, smarter tomorrow.
Our initiative is dedicated to the holistic development of the youth in the region. We aim to provide them with skills that extend beyond the digital realm, encompassing personality development, soft skills, public speaking, and more. By doing so, we are integrating these young individuals into mainstream society, breaking down barriers that they may face in underprivileged areas.
How many students and villagers are expected to benefit from this initiative in Barpeta?
We are aiming to touch the lives of over 40,000 students and 10,000 villagers through the program. However, these are just initial numbers; more beneficiaries will be added to the program as we move forward in our endeavor.
What is the main objective of the initiative besides cybersecurity education?
Beyond imparting cybersecurity education, the main objective of the “Cyber Shiksha for Cyber Suraksha – Earn & Learn” initiative is to foster the holistic development of youth in Barpeta, instilling skills that transcend digital expertise. We aim to empower these young individuals through education that encompasses personality development, soft skills, and public speaking. By doing so, we seek to integrate them into mainstream society by providing exposure to diverse experiences, fostering personal growth, and breaking down barriers that they may face in underprivileged areas.
How are Assam Cyber Warriors selected and trained for this program?
Approximately 40 volunteers are chosen from the local community and students of colleges offering computer science education within the aspirational district of Barpeta. The selection process involves identifying individuals who show dedication and a passion for creating positive change in their community. These volunteers will then be mobilized to serve as Assam Cyber Warriors, with the mission of fostering awareness of cybersecurity among the local populace.
The training of these Cyber Warriors will be comprehensive and enriching. It will include four hours of online sessions focusing on essential soft skills and general cybersecurity awareness. Additionally, offline sessions will cover personality development, team building, goal setting, and public speaking. These sessions are designed not only to equip them with the necessary knowledge but also to boost their confidence and communication skills.
What are some of the potential digital risks that the Cyber Warriors will educate the community about? How will the Cyber Warriors continue to serve as change agents in their villages?
The Cyber Warriors, after their training, will engage with school children and the community, conducting presentations and awareness programs in the local language. They will address various digital risks such as phishing scams, cyberbullying, fake news, and online shopping scams. To ensure comprehensive cybersecurity awareness, “Cyber Chaupals” will be hosted during both day and night.
Their outreach efforts will also involve creating communication material, such as posters, in the local language. These posters will then be prominently displayed in Gram Panchayat offices and other community gathering areas to provide easily understandable information on preventing cyberattacks.
What is the significance of launching this initiative in Barpeta, Assam?
The launch of the “Cyber Shiksha for Cyber Suraksha – Earn & Learn” initiative in Barpeta, Assam, represents a beacon of hope and a promise of empowerment for a community that often remains underserved. Barpeta, one of the 250 most backward districts in India, has been a beneficiary of the Backward Regions Grant Fund Program (BRGF) since 2006. By introducing this program here, we are reaching out to a community that needs these opportunities the most.
Located in the heart of Assam, Barpeta is a place where ancient traditions meet the challenges of the digital age. By nurturing local talent and empowering the youth, we are not only enhancing cybersecurity education but also addressing the larger issues of skill development, personal growth, and community integration.
What is the role of ‘Srijan – Ek Soch’ in this initiative, and what is their CEO’s perspective on it?
‘Srijan – Ek Soch’ plays a pivotal role in the success of the “Cyber Shiksha for Cyber Suraksha – Earn & Learn” initiative. This local NGO is our valuable partner, joining hands with Quick Heal Foundation to extend our reach to the community in Barpeta, Assam. Their commitment and dedication are commendable, and together we are making a profound impact.
Vikas Kumar Tiwari, the CEO of ‘Srijan – Ek Soch,’ shares our vision and has been instrumental in driving this initiative. His perspective resonates with our shared commitment to social causes, and we are grateful for the unwavering support of ‘Srijan – Ek Soch’ in bringing this initiative to fruition. Together, we aim to set a standard for excellence, inspiring others to follow our path of dedication to society.
How does the “Cyber Shiksha for Cyber Suraksha” initiative contribute to creating a safer digital environment in India?
The “Cyber Shiksha for Cyber Suraksha – Earn & Learn” initiative is a small step towards creating a safer digital environment in India. By educating students and villagers in the region, we are creating a cyber-aware and resilient community. This knowledge will empower individuals to protect themselves against potential digital risks, such as phishing scams, cyberbullying, fake news, and online shopping scams.
The Assam Cyber Warriors trained under the program will not only safeguard their own digital lives, but will also actively engage with the community, ensuring comprehensive cybersecurity awareness. The emphasis on holistic development, including personality development and soft skills, will further prepare these individuals for future employment opportunities. This, in turn, will make them valuable contributors to their local job market and the broader society. Through this initiative, we aim to lay the foundation for a safer, smarter, and more digitally secure India.
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