11 January '09 was a great Sunday. On this day, we set out to establish e-libraries in Udaypur and Lamjung districts. And with those setups, we are a couple of steps closer to perceiving the dream "1 e-library per district" envisioned by Help Nepal Network (HeNN). As of now, HeNN e-library project has been deployed in 8 districts and 9 sites.
While the Lamjung project was solely carried out by HeNN, Udaypur project was financed by Save the Children-Norway and HeNN looked after the implementation. FOSS Nepal provided the technical assistance in the projects.
I have been associated with HeNN since the days I volunteered for establishment of e-library in Sudal, Bhaktapur and it has been more than a year now. But working this time was a different experience all together. With Roshendra Dai and Shishir Dai gone for further studies, I was transferred the responsibility of technical co-ordinator for the projects. So, this time, I was in charge of affairs right from purchasing hardware, co-ordinating with volunteers to communicating with Save the Children-Norway. Of course, I also had to deal with technical issues in the setup and content for the e-library. Handling all these responsibilities parallely was tough but a good learning experience.
In the Udaypur deployment, we had a team of 4. Me, Suraj, Mitra Rai and Khem Rai. The project was accomplished in Shree Rauta Higher Secondary School, Murkuchi. In Lamjung, Sushil Shilpakar led the team, with Sanjeev KC, Dipesh Shakya and Kailash Budhathoki as other team members.
There were lovely moments as well as tough moments during the project. But the accomplishment of the projects is definitely a thing we feel proud of since this has created an opportunity of learning Information Technology for at least 1000s of students who will be helping hands in the nation-building tomorrow.
And the beauty of these projects is that they are solely based on Open source and implemented using LTSP (Linux Terminal Server Project) which greatly reduces the cost which is a key concern in nation like ours. Moreover, we have tried to ensure that the setup is more than just a computer lab. With contents like gCompris, Student Wikipedia, e-Paath developed by OLE (Open Learning Exchange), eBarnamala, Kalzium, etc. the setup is a supplement to the traditional library. Hence, we call it an e-library.
I am pretty sure that this mission of "1 e-library per district" will give several young minds an opportunity to be aware of the power of Information Technology and connect them to the global phenominon. This definitely is a reason for me to smile and feel good about these deployments.