And the butterflies? Usha learned to embrace change and to accept that there would be detours, but eventually she found the time to continue with the journey. First, Usha’s company piloted weekend courses, teaching students how to use WordPress. This led to longer and more extensive programs in which the students learned to build a website for a social cause in their communities. Soon after, a software development company expressed interest in using this training to build the soft skills of their newly-hired employees — for a fee of course.
This led to the idea of mixing fee-paying students with other students who would learn for free. Usha citestwo main reasons for this pivot: the first is that for girls from rural communities, communicating closely with others from more urban and professional settings will enhance their social skills as well as their entrepreneurial abilities. “Women inspire each other so much,” Usha says. The second reason is that, in her eyes, the future lies somewhere in between business and social. “One day there will be no need for the term ‘social entrepreneur’ or ‘social business’ as all businesses will aim for good impact. But until that day, the term ‘social enterprise’ is useful,” she says. “We should consciously combine business and social, therefore getting Appropriate IT to also operate like a business with half of our customers paying makes sense.”
With all the pilots done and a real home for the butterfly school (one angel investor decided to support them with a school building), the Appropriate IT Development Academy, or AIDA, was ready to launch. Besides WordPress there is another course lined up this year in programming robotics, using drones and the Raspberry Pi for development. The skills taught are highly advanced and sophisticated, aimed at creating Superbutterflies. And it has already had an impact: a young woman in one of the pilots landed a job as a WordPress programmer.