Few things are as satisfying as watching a 10 year old child, who’s heard of, but never seen a real computer, start to play with one. You can almost feel the wonder. And few things are more difficult than trying to tell a room full of 10 year old’s, playing for the first time, that, in fact, it’s time to go home now.
Where over 80% of the US, UK and Europe has internet connectivity, just 10% of Nepal’s population have been online within the last 12 months. 90% of the people in Nepal cannot Google their homework, look up health advice, buy goods and services outside their own community, or communicate to their relatives working away from home.
Almost everyone in the mountainside village of Dhawa, Nepal, had heard of the internet, but very few villagers could explain exactly what it was. So in 2013 an intense excitement spread across the village when work started to bring the village online.
In December 2013, Dhawa.net was officially the first community owned Internet Service Provider in the mountainous district of Dhawa in Southern Nepal. Connection of this remote village came directly through the hard work of local education organisation, Learning Planet and Engineers Without Borders volunteer and engineer, Matthew Bowman.
The transformative impact this brought to families was seen when, Karim, a local man working away for 18 months in Saudi Arabia, saw his eleven-month old son for the first time. This was one of the first Skype calls from the new IT hub at the Shree Prabhat school.
Over Matthew’s six-month sabbatical he was able to connect 7,000 people living in Dhawa’s hillsides to high speed wireless internet for the first time. With the aid of further volunteers, the work has expanded in the development of a low power strategy, continuing to transform people’s lives. Improving access to education for local children, allowing the provision of free healthcare via a telemedicinal portal and connecting families in different parts of the world.
In 2015, Engineers Without Borders volunteers worked a staggering 32,054 hours on international projects, such as this one. With your help we are determined to help everyone everywhere have access to electricity and the beneficial technological advances that it brings.