Tech Ramblings…

By Dr. T

—One small step for a kid, one giant leap for a village…

I’ve been meaning to write about some social welfare project that highlights using technology that is currently available to us. And transferring the expertise and usage to the people who have no access to it. And what better place to start than home.

A few months ago, a fellow reseacher Muneeb Ali and I were discussing some technology ideas. Through our techno mumbo jumbo we struck an idea to use technology to better affect the lives of people who have no access to it. We were trying to come up with an effective plan to bring on board the internet bridge, the underprivelege people who currently have no idea, usage, or hardware infrastructure to make this possible. Although this idea is not old, (Ref: $100 laptop and 1 computer per child, http://laptop.org/). But this idea hasnt really kicked off in many parts of the world. Mainly because the 100 dollar computer is still in research and construction/advertisement phase, I came up with a more immediate solution to the obvious.

In my recent visit to Pakistan, I adopted an under priveleged house. Seeing that there were a lot of technology gadgets, some computers and a lot of interesting things from my childhood just lying in the attic, I thought of transferring these childhood amusements and things of learning to younger people. But I felt that that wasnt enough. To further this, I’ve decided to educate them on how to better use these technologies such as the computer, the internet, emails and how they can search various things on the www platform to broaden their knowledge base. I must say that I was overwhelmed by the number of people who showed their interest to learn. A great human potential just waiting to get an opportunity. As the saying goes,

“Teach a man to catch a fish, and he will never go hungry”…

This idea is not new to the region. India has been using the transfer of technology from the urban to the rural areas for a while now. And the success of this idea stems fromd the fact that as technology progresses, we find that we have a lot of things that we dont use in our daily lives. They are just stocked in our attics most of the time.

Since, I’m just beginning this project, it will be a while off before we can see some positive change, but I’m hoping that its a step in the right direction. Currently, I’m just hooking up various off the shelf components and rebuilding/refurbishing a 486 computer and trying to make it run using open source. I’ll post more details in my next blog regarding the hardware, software and price that one such computer unit cost me in rebuilding. In short, I want to make this as feasible as possible so that people have no issue in adopting such a model and hopefully, transferring their childhood toys and gadgets to the little children.

I hope through time, and through smaller numbers, we can gain momentum on this project. In the long run, I hope that through one house, we can adopt one whole village, and through one village, a greater part of the underpriveleged society. We can do a great service to people by becoming positive change agents. In effect, using technology to better peoples lives.

I’ll post more updates on this blog as Gilanis son uses the internet for the first time and creates his own email account to send his mail to the world wide web. His ‘hello world’ will be one small step for a kid, one giant leap for a village…

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August 24, 2006 - Posted by | Social steps..

2 Comments »

  1. Tashfeen !

    Good idea. However, in 3rd world coutries, most of the ideas regarding educating masses and open source movements end in corruption. What do you suggest to avoid this?

    Comment by Mian Fahim ul Haq | August 25, 2006 | Reply

  2. Fahim,

    Thanks for the comment. You are right, most of these projects start out humbly, but have the tendency to end in corruption. However, here lies the beauty of the idea. See, most people have old computers, unused tech gadgets lying around. All they have to do, is to refurbish them, find someone whose interested to learn this technology, and teach them. In a way, it will incur minimal cost on the donors hands, and a lot of benefit for the receiving individual.

    No money donation, or reviewing organization is required. It can be considered as anyones side hobby project with minimal financial input, and a lot of output for the society’s underpriveleged :). Also, this can be considered as a personal project for many people…”Little drops making an ocean” so to speak. No hierarchy or organization involved. No money either…

    I’d love to hear more about this in the coming posts…

    Comment by tashfeen | August 25, 2006 | Reply


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