The internet is a highly prized but rare commodity in Nepal. Only 20% of the population have access, while a mere 3% can get online from home. Now, though, all nine SOS Children’s Villages are online, allowing children who have never so much as seen a computer before to benefit from the new horizons opened up by internet access.
Across Nepal, the project has been met with much joy. “In the cyber cafe, we had a very slow and expensive internet service,” says Lila, a student from our youth home in Kathmandu. “Now, I can do my research and prepare project work at home easily. This is like a gift to me!” Four of our Nepalese youth homes now have wifi, enabling students to get online wherever and whenever they please.
At the Children’s Village in Bharatpur, children are benefiting from internet access in their own homes. Now they are learning more quickly and reading more widely, completing school assignments at home, meeting new people online, and developing a familiarity with IT equipment that will be of lifelong value to them.
Not all Nepalese children are adept computer users. Computers are a rarity in state-run schools. To combat this, our social centres are now running computer literacy classes designed to help parents and children get to grips with the new technology.
Bina is so excited by this prospect that she regularly walks nine miles from her home to attend the class. “This is a golden opportunity for us. We had never seen a computer before, and our parents couldn’t afford to send us to boarding school or pay for private IT tuition.”
Free IT classes and internet access at the social centres have been a huge boon to children like Bina who attend state schools where computers are all but non-existent. However, at the seven SOS Schools we run throughout Nepal, we have been able to connect students to the internet through the clever utilisation of hardware, a project we refer to as “School in a Box”.
By running eleven computers off a single processor, we have been able to equip all our schools with enough machines for everyone, making internet access available to 4000 student across the country.
“School in a Box has brought joy to teachers and students,” says Bhuwani Dhakal, headteacher of our school in Kavre. “The system is ideal for schoold and keeps students focused and engaged in the topic they are learning about.”
Microsoft Nepal has been instrumental in helping us deliver internet access across our Nepalese Villages. Along with training and technical support, Microsoft has provided Windows 8 and various operating systems free of charge.
SOS Children believes internet access is a valuable tool which aids learning and helps children develop broader horizons. Last week, SOS Children UK launched the Connecting Africa project with BT...