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Home >> nonprofits & donors >> CSR Companies >> National Institute for Information Technology Limited (NIIT)
Reaching out to the urban poor in India and providing them with an exposure to ICT, the National Institute for Information Technology Limited has set up its Hole-In-The-Wall Training Systems throughout New Delhi and Mysore. In early 1999, NIIT set up continuous video tape monitoring of a computer that they had set up in a slum area in New Delhi. The video showed that young boys and girls from the settlement became highly proficient at using various features of the computer regardless of lack of proficiency in English, and without any instruction. Due to its success, the model is being replicated across the country.

Contact: Dr. Sugata Mitra, Senior Vice -President & Chief Scientist, National Institute for Information Technology Limited, Corporate Centre, 8, Balaji Estate, Sudarshan Munjal Marg Kalkaji, New Delhi 110019, INDIA E-mail:  Tel No: 91 11 620 3409 Fax No: 91 11 620 3499, 620 3333 
Read such interesting ideas of computer and internet usage by NGOs at

I-write and I-learn packages for the physically challenged; a television-based distance learning project; AIDS prevention; conversion into Braille.


Blending business with social commitment


NIIT is a company with a strong social consciousness that gives it a humane face. As an organisation that blends knowledge and technology to touch the lives of ordinary people, corporate social responsibility is part of our very core-deeply embedded in our genes, as it were

Over the years, we have endeavoured to narrow the digital divide in India and provide equal opportunities to the meritorious and deserving citizens of the country. NIIT has launched numerous initiatives to contribute towards India's social development as a good corporate citizen.

Defined as social entrepreneurship or enlightened self interest, movements such as the World Computer Literacy Day (WCLD), initiated by NIIT in 2001, have helped spread the light of IT knowledge among all sections of society.

From tribals in Andhra Pradesh to members of state legislative assemblies; from Nigerian ladies to villagers near Jodhpur in Rajasthan; from the physically challenged children of Dimapur's School for the Deaf to inmates at Tihar Jail; from senior bureaucrats, army personnel, educationists and celebrities to the citizen-on-the-street, WCLD has brought people from all walks of life into the IT fold.

International Women's Month (IWM), yet another NIIT innovation, was launched with the idea of uplifting Indian women, through the tool of computer literacy. IT is one of the few professions where women on the basis of brain, rather than brawn power can stand among men as equals. NIIT recognised this reality and launched IWM, not just to IT-enable them but also obliterate the gender divide.

Major pioneering work has been undertaken by NIIT to acquaint physically challenged persons such as spastics, the deaf and the blind with IT. NIIT has introduced special computer training for the visually impaired, to help them become employable and productive.

In a unique project with the National Association of the Blind (NAB), Bangalore, NIIT made available its Swift India courseware to the institution, which was converted into Braille. NIIT trained students and staff members of NAB to enable blind students to gain computer literacy.

With a view to making the disabled of the country self-reliant, NIIT developed I-Learn, an innovative educational system. For spastics, NIIT created CATERED, A Computer Assisted Teaching and Rehabilitation programme. A special software application, meanwhile, was developed by NIIT to provide interactive support to the physically handicapped.

NIIT had also been involved, alongside organisations such as UNDP and NIS to create awareness about AIDS. NIIT harnessed its training skills and infrastructure to educate Indian youth about HIV/AIDS and bring about the required attitudinal change for the effective prevention of the dreaded disease.

Another instance of NIIT's commitment to the youth is the NIIT Bhavishya Jyoti Scholarships (BJS) programme, that awards fee waivers, ranging from 25% to 100% to deserving students from all sections of society. The BJS has ensured that the financially challenged, yet meritorious youngsters are included in the magic circle of IT learners. On the flip side, it has also made available to the IT sector a pool of brilliant and competent professionals who would otherwise not have been able to come to the forefront.

Possibly the most radical idea to come out of NIIT however and one that will take us into a new realm of computer education delivery is the Hole-in-the-Wall experiment which focuses on taking education to children across the world, at the lowest possible costs. Clearly, even research at NIIT is targeted at fulfilling a social purpose and helping people live more purposeful lives! The Hole-in-the-Wall, with its enormous rub off on the populace, will help the benefits of technology to flow to society at large.

As we move forward, we hope to elicit the help of Indian and global companies in taking the movement forward and proliferating it across the world.

The author is chief operating officer, NIIT Ltd