Today's increasingly tech-savvy children can certainly teach adults a thing or two about using computers.

And that's exactly what's happening at a St. James Town elementary school, where through the Youth Empowering Parents program, students are teaching new Torontonians how to navigate the web, use Microsoft Office and other everyday tech skills. Some students are teaching their own parents while others are paired up with adults or seniors who speak their native tongue.

It is a liberating experience for Valliammai Chettiappan, who left India for Toronto six months ago.

"After this class, I know how to use maps, how to know the weather," she said.

And the student-teachers find it equally rewarding.

"It's fun to teach someone else, to give someone else your knowledge," said Mathushan Ganeshalingam, a Grade 6 student at Rose Avenue Public School. "It's good to do that."

Youth Empowering Parents is underway in five Toronto schools as well as three other countries. It recently won a United Nations innovation award. Its organizers want to triple participants in the next year.

Mathushan Ganeshalingam and Valliammai Chettiappan

Youth empowering parents Toronto program

"It's more independence for me to learn myself," says Chettiappan.

Jenany Suganthan and Manali Paithankar


Youth empowering parents Toronto program

"I'm comfortable with her, she teaches me so well: simple language, simple English," says Paithankar of her tutor Suganthan, a Grade 6 student. Paithankar arrived in Toronto from India two months ago.

Shravan Suresh and Snehal Ingole

Youth empowering parents Toronto program

"It's a great experience," says Ingole, who arrived in Toronto six months ago from India. "Shravan is very good. He's a very good tutor."

Grade 6 student Suresh says at first, tutoring an adult, was "odd ... but it just came along."