Kanubhai and Neha

Kanubhai Rana, 79, took part in Digitall, a one-to-one mentoring scheme run by TimeBank, where young people act as mentors to older people over a period of 12 weeks to help them achieve their computer goals. Thanks to Neha Jayaswal 22, Kanubhai has become more internet savvy and has discovered the joys and excitement of the World Wide Web that the majority of us can often take for granted.

Prior to being mentored by Neha, Kanubhai knew the basics of using a computer as he’d completed a basic course but he was extremely eager to learn more. He is a qualified accountant and worked all the way up until the age of 75. An active sort who used to work hard and attend the gym regularly, Kanubhai got bored when he retired and was in need of some mental stimulation again. So he turned to the Digitall project which was run in partnership with his local IT centre and was matched with a young student who, since IT was part of her degree course, just happened to have an interest in computers.

Taking just an hour of her time a week from her Business and Management degree course at Brunel University, Neha began by identifying Kanubhai’s personal digital goals. She then created a plan to make the sessions relevant, interesting and fun. She introduced Kanubhai to Wikipedia where he discovered he could read about his interests online and showed him how to send emails so he could regularly keep in touch with his grandchildren. Neha helped give him the confidence to enrol on a Learn Direct course too where he gained Level 2 certificates in word processing, database and PowerPoint.

Through the Digitall project, Kanubhai learnt the tools to continue to develop his computer skills and so now uses the internet daily – it has transformed the way in which he accesses information and gains knowledge.

“Thanks to Neha I come to the centre everyday now to learn even more about the internet and make sure I am up to date on sending emails to my grandchildren – they love the pictures and links to exciting things to do in London that I send them”, says Kanubhai. “I even do my accounting on the computer now. Neha is great, I can still call her if I need her now. I know I am a lot slower now because of my age but she was so patient with me – she’s like my daughter.”

Through mentoring on the Digitall programme not only did Neha open up some new and exciting avenues for Kanubhai but she too discovered tons of benefits.

Neha says: “Not being able to use a computer or access the internet is an alien concept to me. I can’t imagine what life would be like without having all that information at my finger tips. Volunteering on the Digitall project has given me the chance to help an older person find that vital information, which is really rewarding – it feels good to know I’ve contributed to my community. It also improved my commitment skills and helped me be more on time for things too.”