How One Man's Dream Helped Provide Digital Education for the Children of Kargil
Meet Syed Sajjad, who made online education possible in Kargil, thanks to Airtel XStream Fiber
Located 2,676 meters above the mean sea level at the foothills of the Himalayas’ Laskar Range lies the city of Kargil. This inspiring story features Kargil’s very own Syed Sajjad, and how he and his colleagues alongside Airtel opened the city’s children up to online education.
Syed Sajjad is the District Coordinator of the Culture & Counseling Chief Education Office in Kargil. He explains, how since childhood, his father instilled in him the idea that if education is done right, all other developments follow. Sajjad reflects upon his childhood in Kargil and talks about the struggles one has to go through in his city.
Education is challenging in Ladakh by itself. Sajjad explains “...when the COVID lockdowns happened, children’s education had to be halted. That’s when it felt like life had come to a standstill.” Ladakh’s harsh winters cause the people to be cut away from the world for 6 months, during which schools stay closed as well. This is why Kargil’s children were hit harder than the rest of the country during the lockdowns. For them, education was already seasonal.
And despite Kargil being the second-largest city in Ladakh, it did not have stable internet connectivity. “During COVID, other states were studying online. But we didn’t have internet facilities” says Sajjad.
Sajjad has held a dream close to his heart - one where Kargil develops alongside other cities. The COVID lockdown made him passionate about how this halt in children’s education would affect Kargil’s future. It is then that The Administration of Union Territory of Ladakh decided to distribute free tablets to students enrolled in government schools. “This was the ray of hope for the children of Kargil,” says Sajjad.
But this only solved one part of the puzzle. Sajjad was quick to acknowledge the need to solve the connectivity issues in their city.
“The reasons were frequent disconnection, low speeds and delayed service” adds Abrar Ul-Haq, Senior Business Development Manager, Broadband Franchise, Airtel. According to Abrar, Airtel had found its mission in Kargil, and it was to install Wi-Fi speed of 300 Mbps at 3000m above sea level. Abrar’s team started working on their fiber connections in early 2021, despite the high altitude, harsh climates and the other problems posed by the terrain of Ladakh.
“Within two days, the Airtel XStream Fiber connection was established,” Sajjad exclaims. This was a huge step toward Kargil’s development and changed things forever for children’s education in the city. Sajjad and his team have now distributed over 13,000 tablets among children and have managed to restore their faiths to the possibility of a more educated Kargil. In the words of Sajjad, “Now, I see our children explore new things on the internet, and it fills me up with joy.”
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