Rebuilding infrastructure for Schools, in Pakistan

Posted 8 Oct 2006 at 09:14 UTC by lkcl Share This

it's exactly one year since the earthquake hit pakistan and afghanistan, killing 79,000 people. concrete-construction hospitals crushed everything inside. my neighbour (a doctor) and his wife (an aneshtetist) has been back to pakistan several times, to help out. as pakistan is a first world country, he brings back news that they need computer equipment for the schools that they are rebuilding. can you help?

my neighbour's local taxi driver has even visited there: he's not a bricklayer, but he's been helping rebuild some of the schools. simple construction buildings. there are loads of students who are waiting to write coursework, send off exam papers from the outlying mountainous regions where the work can be marked - but of course, they have no computer equipment on which to type up their reports.

issues to consider:

1) the cost of a new machine in pakistan is, i believe, about GBP 150.00 ($EUR 200). purchasing new machines over here and sending them over is therefore not entirely economical, unless there are specific reasons for doing so. for example, the linitx.com machines can be made to run off of 12V car batteries - which isn't strictly necessary in this case.

2) getting older machines over to pakistan by airfreight is expensive.

3) carrying small lightweight machines (linitx.com) as personal luggage is a possible option, but people going over there have a limit of 15kg, and, as most of the people going over are doctors etc. they like to take as much equipment as they can.

4) there will be no internet infrastructure in place - yet. dial-up modem might be an option - i'll have to double-check.

5) this is a mountainous region. communication between schools _might_ be possible using ham radio, directed 5.8ghz or 2.4ghz wifi.

6) hotels and other accommodation is scarce - what _is_ available tends to get rented out to americans and other foreigners because they are prepared to pay high rates, in dollars.

7) i don't think imposing windows - or the cost of windows licenses - on these people would be a good idea.

more when i make some more enquiries.


contact me, posted 8 Oct 2006 at 09:17 UTC by lkcl » (Master)

either through this article, or at lkcl@lkcl.net, or via skype lkcl..

update, posted 8 Oct 2006 at 09:40 UTC by lkcl » (Master)

confirmation:

* electricity is available.

* GBP 150 equals 15,000 - that gets a decent machine including monitor.

* telephone lines are available, so yes dial-up would be possible.

talking to khurram, posted 8 Oct 2006 at 09:44 UTC by lkcl » (Master)

transcript:

20 computers would be great - more would be better. all told, a hundred machines would be more than enough. most of the equipment was lost with the structures. there were about 800 schools that lost their buildings. a lot of people are trying to help. 2nd school is up already (pictures to follow) in kasmir (Muzaffarabad). they're going to do 8 schools, that's about the amount of money they've raised so far. overall they are helping 40 schools, with other things like equipment. so the priority is structures so they can't spare money for stuff like computers etc.

communication between schools - if you have modem, there are local internet providers, so that's ok, so it would be very helpful. email is quite a big facility [being able to keep in touch!]

kasmir development foundation., posted 8 Oct 2006 at 09:47 UTC by lkcl » (Master)

locally we have got connection with the local organisation called the kasmir development foundation, they visit out all the schools, work out what the immediate priorities are, and contact overseas donors so they can target aid to where it's needed, so that would be v. helpful, and that connection has been more successful at a personal level even better than the agencies.

hardly any agencies have got schools rebuilt whereas the networking that khurram is involved with is much more effective. there is a lot of decision-making and most of the aid stays in banks. khurram feels that this kind of aid he is involved with is far more effective.

background, posted 8 Oct 2006 at 09:55 UTC by lkcl » (Master)

20% of schools are government owned, 80% are independent. so of course, the schools got destroyed, and the homes of the owners - so the schools owners are penniless - and it's a business, so they're not going to get compensated!

so the foundation decided to target the 8 worst affected schools, and create two-room buildings, costed it out, and brought down the cost of the project to GBP 1,500 by getting all the materials themselves, and designing an earthquake-design, dwarf-wall only 1m high and like a conservatory metal structure on top. one of the builders is a local person in banbury, khurram took him over in april, to train local people, they made the foundations, etc. and they did that design themselves and it is very successful, and it is catching on.

not only is it earthquake resistant but it is comfortable, because it has the feel of a decent classroom not a metal shed (because of the dwarf wall) and they managed in 1,500 because they cut out all of the middle-men and given the KDF people and if they complete the first school then they will give them more money to build the next one so that they know that every penny gets spent exactly on the project.

science labs managed between four schools GBP 450.00 - and a lot of help from the suppliers :) very successful with that - if you pitch in then everybody else pitches in :)

teach Pakistan children GO game is much better , posted 9 Oct 2006 at 01:06 UTC by sye » (Journeyer)

than giving them crappy computing devices to poison their mind with false and brutal calculations...

teach Pakistan children GO game is much better , posted 9 Oct 2006 at 01:06 UTC by sye » (Journeyer)

than giving them crappy computing devices to poison their mind with false and brutal calculations...

mit media lab / OLTP, posted 9 Oct 2006 at 07:33 UTC by lkcl » (Master)

... would be a good thing for them to have, susan, however, right now, it's not available.

photos of the first school, posted 9 Oct 2006 at 20:10 UTC by lkcl » (Master)

first kasmir development foundation school photos: i will put details at that location when i receive them.

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