NAME: Anukool Sathu
HOME ADDRESS: Dannemora, Auckland, New Zealand
DATES IN NANGI: 16 July – 3rd November
Involved in setting up Internet Phones by testing new equipment, redesigning the computer network within the school, and also setting up a Wireless signal around the school for and neighboring locality.
Completed a project to create an up to date school database on students, staff & donations. This allowed the school to have a paperless database environment with personal details of each student and the donations that are being handed out. It gave statistical reports on the student’s gender, age, locality, scholarships received and more. This assisted in reports sent to the NGO’s funding the school and also were used to provide factual data when raising funds or analysing current processes. Trained teacher on how to use it.
Helping identify areas of development within the village and providing resources to implement them. Initiated the idea behind the Plastic Recycling Centre/Scheme, Helped build the Collection Box with other volunteers and also started the 1 Rupee per bottle scheme. It has turned out to be very successful; apparently a thousand bottles were collected in a matter of 2 weeks.
Taught English to Grade 12 for 3 Weeks (Since no other teacher was available).
Initiated the idea to have a racket based sport in the village, thus along with the Carpenters helped build Table Tennis Table, providing the rackets/net/balls.
Organised purchase & transport of used laptops to be brought from overseas, as the teachers in the school were keen to have them for teaching children & personal use. Managed to get 7 Laptops from NZ.
LIST EQUIPMENT AND TRAINING MATERIALS
– include those brought with you and those purchased in Nepal
- 7 Laptops ( All purchased from New Zealand)
- 5 VOIP Phones (Internet Phones)
- 1 Land Phone
- 4 ATA’s (Testing for future Phone solution for Region)
- Wireless Router
- Wood planks ( For Table Tennis & Recycling Crate)
- Table Tennis/Basket Ball Equipment (Rackets etc..)
- Omni-Directional Antenna
– give a detailed description of your project plan and implementation methods.
1. Internet Phones/Wireless/Computer Network
I had been assigned to work on a VOIP(Internet Phone) project that was being overseen by Mahabir Pun. The aim of the project was to improve the existing telephony system in the region of Nangi and surrounding villages. There is a plan to establish a more extensive and organised phone service solution for that area, and I was involved in the testing of equipment and effectiveness of this proposed solution.
I had a range of equipment that I carried like IP phones, Routers, ATA’s etc.. These needed to be tested, and then configured with the existing network. The quality and effectiveness needed to be assessed and reported back to the relevant people. Over the course of time I got all the pre-requisite material and made many of the equipment operational, and let the local population use it, to see its effectiveness. The end result was positive and barring a few issues that need to be looked at due to the lack of bandwidth in that area, we should be able to implement the IP Phones throughout the region.
I helped in setting up a wireless signal through a High Gain Antenna that propagates a wireless signal around the school and the village. This project when worked on a little more will allow internet access to locals in their houses, which also would mean phone access at their relevant homes (Of course you would need a computer with a wifi card, for this to work). In my time there I also reconfigured the network setup of the school computer network, as the Nepal Wireless Team had advised to make changes by adding a Router to the existing network. This has many positive outcomes that have been observed and will be implemented in other villages soon.
2. Electronic Database
The school seemed to only have paper records of students and staff, and this meant that analysing/updating student/staff information was a tedious process. I looked at this as an opportunity to step the Himanchal Higher Secondary School into the next step of school evolution by making an easy to use Database that would allow the addition of students/staff/scholarships/donors etc. in the school. All the relevant factors were gathered upon discussion with teachers and the data fields populated, now they can enter all the students personal details and keep track of the various factors (Name/Gender/Grade/Age/Village/Scholarships Received etc..) that occur in the school. The program allows them to have charts and statistics readily available that they can send to funding NGO’s and also to make sure the school is meeting their set requirements. It is primarily a database to make the school become more efficient. Hopefully in time they can use it to its true potential. I trained one of the teachers(Toya) on how to use it and improve it in time to meet their needs.
I had noticed that this and most regions around Nepal have no recycling system, children and adults just chucking the plastic bottle into waterfalls or just outside their houses. Over time this would be a big problem, and the pristine nature of this region would be lost by inorganic rubbish. So I decided that we need to create some sort of basic system to keep this area clean. So along with couple of other volunteers we made a crate that would be kept on School premises and would be a plastic/wrapper collection centre. We got some wood and paint and hammered it in, not too bad considering our non-handyman skills. We decided to create an incentive program that would give everyone who puts a plastic bottle into the crate a token One Rupee. This would make the children who are walking around pick up the bottles, and thus allow them to buy some candy from the local store. At least a system is in place and hopefully the bottles can be disposed correctly when the crate is full.
Due to a lack space there isn’t much children can do here, and I thought adding a racket sport will be a good change from the basketball and volleyball they have been playing in these parts for many years. The Hostel children can play after school, and also the younger children often miss out on sports, so this will benefit them. We cleared out a room used to store wood and unused items and give it a good clean. Then we began our craftsmanship of the table. It might sound like a simple job, it’s a table with a net in the middle right, but it took time. We used the services of the carpenter, but when you have to use hands and no electric saws and drills, it becomes a job of epic proportions(for my standards ).. It ended up being a fantastic table smooth and perfect for the conditions. Very solid , mainly thanks to the carpenters good work. I provided the equipment and hopefully the volunteer there at the moment has written up the rules and regulations for the children to see.
5. Teaching English
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to teach English to the Grade 12 class, as there was no teacher available at my time there. I noticed that the English curriculum that is being followed in my view far too hard for the level the students are at this school. Most students have problems with simple sentences, thus poems and speeches are a very hard concept to grasp. In any case, I tried my best to make the students speak and when speaking explaining what they had said. I tried all possible communication means to make the students realise what a word might mean, and also played some games that required them to think in English. All in all it was a very interesting and challenging experience for me. I think the children enjoyed it as well, there is definitely a lot of scope of improvement when it comes to teaching the English language in the school.
– describe specific results of project. (For example five health care workers received dental training or one hectare of pine trees were planted for reforestation.)
1. Computer/Phone Network project – Setup VOIP phones in the school that was being successfully used by staff and villagers. Tested all new equipment provided by Mahabir for quality and effectiveness. Reconfigured the school network in view of the future plans as proposed by Nepal Wireless. Setup Wireless signal around school and locality, for future use.
2. Student/Staff Database – Successfully created software that collects information about staff/students/volunteers/donors and keeps their relevant records for further analysis. The software will allow reports on various factors be generated and auto-updated for reference purposes. The database needs to be filled by the staff members, to get it going and become productive.
3. Recycling – Estbalished a collection centre, and a recycling scheme that is clearly doing very well. Since its inauguration I have been told nearly 2000 bottles have been collected and the message is being heard by other villages to start a similar system there. The token 1 Rupee per bottle seems to be a very good incentive for the locals especially kids to recycle.
4. Table Tennis – We cleared an unused room and cleaned it thoroughly to provide space for a Table Tennis Table. The Table was constructed at nangi by Volunteers and Carpenters, and came out as a very solid construction. It is in use by students/staff as we speak.
– list personal goals for future involvement with Nangi Village or Himanchal Educational Foundation
1. In terms of technology one of my goals would be to make the entire village and the neighboring areas Wifi accessible. This would mean Internet access to anyone with a device available to them at any point in this region. This would also allow for Phone communication at all parts, which is highly desirable to many people here.
2. Recycling – There is a lot of scope to make this region eco-friendly and promote this ethos around all of Nepal. Collection centers need to be established in various areas and a disposal method needs to be arranged with some national/international organisation. I wish to pursue this in my future projects at Nangi
3. I will definitely try and find ways to get the students better facilities to improve their communication in English. I see a lot of scope there, and am looking at options that might help them as we speak.
PROJECT RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE VOLUNTEERS:
include suggestions to finish or advance your project and/or new project ideas
There is a dire need for the students in the village to improve their English. Even the one’s who are finishing Grade 12 English have very poor communication skills and this needs to be addressed. If the children of this village are going to compete with the city kids, they must a facility to work on their English Skills. Be it an English speaking program/educational DVD’s, something separate from their classes that can help them.
After reaching Nangi I noticed that people adults/kids had a habit of just chucking away their plastic bottles and wrappers around the mountain, this was clearly going to have a major negative affection this region in due course of time. To motivate people we managed to create a Recycling Bin and Earn as you recycle scheme. This has been a huge success apparently 1900 bottles have been collected thus far. The next step is to find a way of disposing these bottles in an eco-friendly manner. There are some organizations within Nepal who deal with this, and they must be contacted. Also international organizations might help in disposal of these goods, a system needs to be put in place.
For the IT related volunteers there is always a project on how to make the village of Nangi and surrounding villages completely Wireless accessible. This requires the setup of some Wireless Access points and some repeaters and you are away. So look into that.
Attach pictures of your project or activity. Photographs will enhance your report and allow others to see it through your eyes.