I have now completed my last visit to Takru and have come away with many thoughts. I went with Nick Clayton and Andy Leonard to see the project’s progress. It was pleasing to see that the physical infrastructure is working and that the Internet speed was surprisingly good.
The greatest challenge now left is the legacy side. The villagers were clearly pleased and happy about the whole project as shown in a fabulous evening of thanks to us. We were adorned with paint, scarves, tradition Tamang dress and many signs of thanks. I’m sure a night none of us shall forget. But it did make me realise that the challenge has shifted away from the physical side of the project.
We need to make sure that the villagers are trained in how to use computers to make sure that they can make good use of the full capabilities of the Internet. At the moment my impression is that they are a little afraid and intimidated by the technology. If we can not only train them but display to them the wonders of such technology then it is our belief that they will be captured and become desperate to make full use of it.
Nick believes that the best way to do this is through Skype. Many of the men of the village are currently working abroad in Malaysia and if their families were to be able to see their father/husband/son on their screen through Skype technology then their communication with these family members would be revolutionised. Just this display would lead to a greater curiosity of the capabilities that would be enabled.
This curiosity can lead to exploration and self-learning. It is my aim to give especially the children a certain level of knowledge and know-how so that they can begin to explore for themselves. I think a lot of training can be done by the village itself. If we can identify 3/4 villagers who have an aptitude for learning, they can pass on their knowledge. Much can be picked up from simply observing others on the computer over their shoulders too, something which should happen once the computers are set up in their community room. I genuinely believe that this technology and the Internet could hugely expand the horizons of the children of the village and give them opportunities for careers that perhaps would not have been possible before. This is the reason that getting the legacy correct is perhaps the most important part of the project.
From now we are sending a technician once a month to the village to ensure that all of the infrastructure is working as well as helping to train the villagers. Therefore my role now becomes a sideline one, receiving updates and advising as to any decisions that will be made. But it is my hope that after some time the village will begin to self-police, self-regulate and progress by themselves. This would be the ultimate ideal outcome of the entire project and has been since its inception.