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Yours Friendly: Saheli

Tripti Deodhar

Want to be Computer literate? Are those expensive courses intimidating you? Then, your search stops here. SAHELI, Friendship for South Asian women, conducts a 2 level program in Computer Training at the Cambridge Public library (Central square). They are absolutely free of cost. These classes are held every Thursday between 6pm to 8 pm. Saheli offers these classes under their economic empowerment program to help people from different communities find better jobs that demand knowledge of computer. They do not discriminate against gender, race, age or ethnicity. Anyone who intends to be computer savvy can join these sessions.

  SAHELI has been conducting these classes for over 4 years now and around 180 people, belonging to different communities have taken advantage .The Beginners Level include the Basics of Computer, Microsoft Word, Internet and Email. The Intermediate level includes lessons in Microsoft Excel and Power Point. Each level is of 12 sessions with two to three instructors for guidance and has a lot of hands on work for the students. The first level course also include training in writing a Job Application and building a Resume. The students on completion of each course receive a Certificate of appreciation from SAHELI.

Manju Deiv, the co-coordinator of these classes enjoys teaching these classes very much. She has been conducting them for over a year now along with the help of other volunteer teachers. One of the students, a native of Bangladesh, told us that these classes have made her feel confident to look for a job. A mother of two and a homemaker she wanted to take up a job and was looking for some basic knowledge in computers. During this time, she happened to come across a flier of SAHELI classes at a local grocery store. A very shy student initially, as she spoke very little English, she is now very comfortable in the class. “Now I have my email Id and I write and chat with my younger brother far away in Bangladesh,” says she, with a twinkle in her eye.” thanks to my teachers at SAHELI”. Lucille, another student who graduated from these classes, says,”I am very thankful to Manju and Dr Gouri Banerjee (Co-President of SAHELI). They have been very kind for teaching me so much.  I have gained a great deal of knowledge about Microsoft Office Applications:  especially Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.  Presently, I am looking for employment. I have tested at several agencies in the greater Boston area.  They all say I scored exceptionally high in the assessments. I owe this success to SAHELI and its highly skilled instructors who volunteer their services in order to help the community.” She further adds that, she highly recommend these classes for anyone who would like to become proficient in these applications or would just like a review in a congenial conducive atmosphere which encourages people to gain knowledge in this important field”.

Several other students of the course are also grateful to SAHELI. These classes, they say, have helped them do better at their jobs. They are amazed by the selfless effort put by all the SAHELI volunteers.

   The Basic course is conducted during summer, whereas the 2nd level course is done during spring. These classes have generally 20 to 25 students per session. The upcoming session will commence from mid April of this year. For more information call 617-735-9724

   SAHELI was founded in 1996, as an affiliate of Indian Association of Greater Boston. It provides friendship, support, guidance and resources in the areas of career and economic empowerment, physical and mental health, illegal and immigration issues, support for families and social and cultural volunteer opportunities.

-Tripti Deodhar,Marlborough

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