Thursday, May 07, 2009

Hole in the Wall

I'm in Malaysia with colleagues from Asia Pacific at the moment and one of my colleagues gave me this brilliant example of digital innovation.

Hole in the wall is a securely embedded computer that is made available to people in various parts of India. It's a free access computer, first tested in 1999, and now extending beyond India. More information here.

It's also worth noting that the programme was one of the inspirations for the novel Q&A, which later was filmed as Slumdog Millionaire. As the author Vikas Swarup says:

“I was inspired by the hole-in-the-wall project, where a computer with an internet connection was put in a Delhi slum. When the slum was revisited after a month, the children of that slum had learnt how to use the worldwide web.”

“That got me fascinated and I realised that there’s an innate ability in everyone to do something extraordinary, provided they are given an opportunity. How else do you explain children with no education at all being able to learn to use the Internet. This shows knowledge is not just the preserve of the elite.”

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