It’s great to see the Jhai Foundation‘s project to wire up villages in Laos is taking off. Back when they were seeking seed money to get the project off the ground, I donated $20 and it’s money well spent when you see how quickly it came to life.
With computer costs constantly plummeting and technology moving ever forward, it’s great to see people take advantage of the technology and not just say “we should use this tech in innovative ways for good, like letting people communicate for the first time”, but to actually get up and do it themselves.
For $25k, a series of villages in Laos that have never had electricity or phones will have a phone system (and the internet, though I don’t see that being nearly as important to their lives). Being able to communicate from village to village (and beyond, out to the world) is going to make a drastic difference in people’s lives. I see parallels with Brewster Kahle’s Internet Archive project. For a few million dollars (a fraction of what we spend on a single library like the Library of Congress), he’s seeking to create the largest library ever built so he can amass the sum total of all human knowledge, built entirely with cheap hard drives and scanners.
The difference between making recommendations like “here’s a way to accomplish something that we should do” to a government and actually creating it and instead saying “here’s a way to do it, here’s how I did it very cheaply, and here it is ready for use” is enormous, and worthy of praise. My hat’s off to these people.