Who we are
We are the guys from upstairs who play loud music and disturb everyone else. Currently there are eleven interns working for OLE Nepal. All of us are intelligent, hard-working and energetic young high school graduates committed to helping change the Nepalese education system. We were too lazy to apply to colleges while still in school and so we had a year with nothing to do. Fortunately, OLE Nepal beckoned us and now we have something interesting and worthwhile to fill our time with. Some of us are seasoned veterans who have worked long hours until late at night on weekends to meet deadlines. Others are newbies who grumble all the time about not having their own desktops.
What we are doing
When not arm wrestling or flirting with the girls next door, we are usually trying to fix the few broken laptops from the schools. Most of the time we end up solving the innumerable important problems that everyone wants taken care of, but no one seems to have the time for; simple things like getting the laptop to type in Nepali or adding the Nepali language to an activity on the laptop and other similar things. Sitting in front of our computer we browse through a million pages, writing emails to hundreds of people looking for solutions to those problems. Then there are the minor tasks; a pinch of documentation on the OLPC wiki, a dash of translation, a little bit of this, a little bit of that. Basically we do just about everything everyone throws at us. We are also going to play a major role in the larger OLPC deployment next spring. We will be staying at the schools for a month, training teachers and students to use the XOs.
Right now we are working on installing and configuring the school server, customizing images, adding features to activities form the XO, designing web pages for the E-Pustakalaya and translating existing E-Paath activities (all for free). However our work cannot be labeled as â€œcharityâ€ because our involvement with OLE Nepal has given us more than we had bargained for. For starters, we get to be around hard-working and passionate people who are wholly dedicated to the cause of this organization and to Nepal. The opportunity of working and interacting with them has proven to be very exciting and stimulating. During the course of our work, we also get the opportunity to interact with brilliant people from different walks of life who have continued to contribute to society in their own individual ways. In addition, it is quite amazing how much we get to learn and discover in every hour of every day. Our work experience can be compared to an unusually long training course with the added bonus of not being billed for it. Of course, the best part is the realization that, for the first time in our lives, we are working for something that we truly believe in.
Why open learning
Mainly because our bosses say so. Also, because open learning has the potential to help bring technology to the masses and to spread the open source movement throughout Nepal. For us the open source movement does not just signify getting to use, modify or distribute software for free instead of having to pay thousands of rupees for a copy of commercial software (or a few hundred rupees for a pirated copy). For us it symbolizes the idea that all human knowledge has greater value when it is shared and that arbitrary restrictions on that information only serve to stifle human progress. The OLPC laptops exclusively use open source software and we cannot think of a better way to spread free software than to give it to people who had not even heard of computers or the Internet. But most importantly, because open learning will change the lives of under privileged Nepalese children by opening up a whole new realm of opportunities to them.
How we are doing
So far we are doing very good.
By – Bibek and Pradosh