In villages of the Indian Himalayas of Ladakh, over 75% of students and adult learners have had no access to learning since the start of the COVID 19 crisis. Many places don’t have 3G towers in their villages. Most can’t afford the high data charges anyway. Other areas have been disrupted by border disputes: the border with China has been closed since the 60’s, and the one with Pakistan is… complicated.
The Yountan Yargyas (“New School”) Project aims to bridge this by creating a meshnet in these remote villages (so any learner of any age can access the service from their homes, schools and offices). They load 1TB sd cards with the best quality, open source learning materials that will help students keep up with their curricular learning and adults gain skills directly applicable to income generation and staying healthy.
This includes a “radio station” (ability to broadcast and livestream) as well as a “Ladakhipedia”. Both constitute a way for young people to gain 21st century skills and to keep traditions alive. The local Ladakhi language is losing ground because of the pressure on learning the English language, so they use it to create entries about their home villages and cultures in their mother tongue. Kiwix provides them with copies of Youtube videos classes in Ladakhi that they can play offline.
The Health, Environment and Literacy Partnerships (HELP) fund does this in part with Kiwix, which they can use and deploy for free.