Tech Learning For All, A Daring Rescue And Other Positive Stories

The efforts of K. Suriya Prabha and Nawneet Ranjan are ensuring that tech education is accessible to the lower echelons of Indian society

Saptak Choudhury,James Hadley Updated: Sep 26, 2019 19:26:54 IST
Tech Learning For All, A Daring Rescue And Other Positive Stories K. Suriya Prabha with students from Mukthi Vinayagar Middle School in Cumbum, Tamil Nadu (Courtesy: K. Suriya Prabha)

Tech Learning For All

Education: Young children in villages and slums across India are gaining access to the power of technology thanks to these dedicated and remarkable individuals.

Recognizing the vast talent pool in Tamil Nadu’s rural areas, 31-year-old K. Suriya Prabha founded YouCode Intelligence Solutions, which helps students in government schools learn about artificial intelligence (AI). Using Amazon and Google AI kits to make learning more fun and interactive, the YouCode team has so far conducted five workshops, each attended by around 400 students. Prabha hopes that, soon, more girls will enter the male-dominated technology industry.

Mumbai-based documentary film-maker Nawneet Ranjan is on a similar mission. His non-profit Dharavi Diary teaches STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) subjects, including coding and app development, to children living in slums. Star-ting with 15 students in one centre in Dharavi, Mumbai in 2012, today the organization boasts six centres across six Indian cities, training nearly 2,500 students nationwide.

Ranjan’s belief is that storytelling and technology can and should play a larger role in India’s education system.


Litter-Picking Crows

Environment: A historical theme park in France has enlisted some unlikely help in clearing up litter left by visitors: six rooks. The Puy du Fou park in the Vendée region has trained the birds to pick up litter by installing a small box that delivers a nugget of food each time one of the birds deposits a cigarette butt or piece of rubbish.

“The goal is not just to clear up, but also to show that nature itself can teach us to take care of the environment,” says Nicolas de Villiers, president of the park, which receives two million visitors a year. De Villiers says the birds are “very fast” and can fill a box in less than 45 minutes. “We want to educate people not to throw their garbage on the ground,” he says. “Sometimes it’s good to make people feel a little bit guilty.”


Tram That Drives Itself

Transport: Europe’s first self-driving tram has been successfully trialled on a six-kilometre route in Potsdam, Germany. The autonomous Combino tram, looks like any other tram but uses radar, laser technology and camera sensors as multiple virtual eyes to view oncoming traffic. Travelling at up to the track maximum of 50 km per hour, it can respond to hazards up to 100 metres ahead faster than a human.


Heroes: A Daring Rescue

good-news-heroes_032619011806.jpgSisters Purnima and Sabita Giri earned high praise for their bravery. (Courtesy: Padmanav Choudhury/Facebook)

On 2 January 2019, nine lives were lost when a boat capsized in the Mahanadi river in the Kendrapara district of Odisha. The toll could have been much higher had it not been for three brave girls, who put their lives on the line to save more than 20 people.

Subhasmita Sahoo, and sisters Purnima Giri and Sabita Giri, emerged as heroes in this tragic incident. According to, not only did Subhasmita swim to the river mouth, she also managed to rescue the lives of eight others (including her mother) by dragging them to safety. The Giri sisters also saved the lives of more than 10 passengers. Subsequently, the Odisha government honoured the sisters as ‘heroes’ who ‘represent the bravery and compassion of young Odisha’.

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