In our last blog I told you about our ideas for providing computer training to school leavers and other young people here. In rural villages they have much less access to computers than those who live in town and so are at a great disadvantage when trying to start out in a job. We found that our young people strongly believe such a course would help them. We too very much believe that this training is important and that the students will have much better prospects, directly or indirectly, after they will have completed such a course. And we hope to provide this course with the continued help of all our friends, supporters and well wishers. We are calling this project our Computer Campaign.
Building the Physical Infrastructure
Of course funding is always an essential. We have applied for funding but we were really pressed for time and it was important to provide a course soon so as to cater for the great enthusiasm among the students. So we had to reconsider what to do in the short term.
Delivering and Installing the Equipment
Fortunately, Robert Lush, who is one of my best friends and who is staying here now, could also appreciate the enthusiasm and the energy of the villagers for this project. So he has donated five computers and the necessary funds to pay the salaries for the first six month course. So we have today, 1st August, been able to begin this training course.
Registering the New Students
One reason Robert is here in West Bengal is to continue his recording and research into local culture and language, which is under threat due to development, deforestation and the influence of satellite media. It is very important that we now preserve as much as possible of our heritage. It will very soon be too late to record our past. He is also working with us to archive the great amount of material we have already recorded. He has offered to divert the funds he is providing for his research project to enable our Computer Campaign to make an early start. Kudos to Robert!
But we still need to consider long term funding requirements. We need to focus on the money that will be required to pay ongoing salaries, maintenance and other running costs.
A Test Run to Make Sure Everything works
Our First Day of Class!
And in fact today we ran our first class, which concentrated on theory. The practical sessions start next Tuesday. We have enrolled 63 students, 33 girls and 30 boys. Rather than write too much now, we will show you some of the photographs we took, which I hope speak for themselves. I hope you can see how excited we are about this project.
There is a lot of work to do over the next 6 months to ensure this course continues to be a success. But so far so good!
Many thanks to you all for your continuing support and interest!