Archive for May 9, 2007

Dialog Telekom Provides Mobile Coverage to Mahavilachchiya

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December 25, 2006
Buddhika Prasad Hettiarachchi buddhika@horizonlanka.org Complete Story is Here.

Villagers in Mahavilachchiya are very happy to receive Dialog Telekom’s mobile phone coverage to entire village from the night of December 18, 2006. Dialog is the first and only mobile network provider in Mahavilachchiya. Even bigger towns like Mihintale are yet to get Dialog coverage. Dialog provided coverage to Mahavilachchiya to appreciate what we are doing for community development through Horizon Lanka Foundation. The whole village thanks Dialog for covering the village. Read the rest of this entry »

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Welcome to Mahavilachchiya Blog

Connecting rural Sri Lanka is considered a major hurdle in developing the country. We hear the whirling technical jargon like IT, ICT, ICT4D etc. etc. but it’s worth considering how far we have grasped the meaning of all this. If we place Sri Lanka in the real map of the present world, we are lagging far behind. This small battered country cannot be compared to Japan, UK, Germany and Australia. Though the world has opened its doors to ICT for a few decades now, we, as a country, have been hitting the snooze button on our alarm clocks for too long and have at last woken up though a little late. Whilst the Information Revolution had been changing the world, we persisted and believed in exports and traditional farming methods. Addressing the issues involved with making rural Sri Lanka an ICT literate country is complicated because the answers lie far beyond simple ICT education. In order to achieve this goal, as well as education, we have to make ICT a high profile commodity by raising its awareness and benefits to the rural villager.The village of Mahavilachchiya is a promising ground for any kind of ICT initiative because of Horizon Lanka Foundation’s http://www.horizonlanka.org activities over the last seven years. Horizon Lanka Foundation has been actively working at a grassroots level, laying the groundwork for making this village a Model e-village http://www.mahavilachchiya.net . They began closing the information gap for this community by introducing the computer and giving basic computer lessons. Over the years, this one computer grew to a few and more and more students took interest in this new technology. By helping local families purchase computers through one of its most successful projects, www.digitalbutterflies.org, more of the community began to familiarize itself with the concept of ICT, especially the children. The content of the computer training provided by Horizon Lanka began to become more expert and the children have been quick to grasp web designing and graphic design and now design and produce all Horizon Lanka Foundation related web sites. The Foundation in 2004 brought an Internet connection and a computer lab to the village. It is believed that internet access for these rural villages will help to reduce isolation, provide education and economic opportunities and ultimately improve the quality of life.

By November 2006, Mahavilachchiya went another step forward by providing free internet access to 28 households where Horizon Lanka students live and 2 public schools where 1000 students study.

In December Dialog Telekom Limited provided Dialog mobile coverage to the whole village at a time some bigger towns are yet to be covered for the reason that Mahavilachchiya is producing outstanding results when it comes to village development.

With all these things in place, how much more is there to do? So far most of the emphasis of Horizon Lanka’s work has been aimed at children. It is time to bring ICT to the community.

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Lonely lives ‘meshed up’ in Mahavilachchiya. The Happiest Man in Mahavilachchiya…!

Kumar is a Tamil living in Mahavilachchiya. He was born and bred, and had his primary education in Kalatththewa, Anuradhapura. Later he came to Anuradhapura city where he had his secondary education at St. Joseph’s College, Anuradhapura. He had to give up education as he had to become the breadwinner of his family. He wanted to ensure that his brothers and sisters get a decent education and sacrificing his opportunities for the well-being of the others was the only option he had.

Guided probably by fate Kumar happened to come to Mahavilachchiya to work at a shop, there he met Mangalika, a beautiful Sinhala village girl, and it was love at first sight. They got married shortly afterwards. He settled down at Mahavilachchiya with Mangalika and continued to support his brothers and sisters from there.

Kumar’s elder sister migrated to United Kingdom with her husband after the Black July riots in 1983 and one by one, his whole family left the country after her. Kumar could not follow them because his wife was reluctant to leave the familiar surroundings of the village where she had lived since she was born.

Kumar missed his family, his childhood friends and many other things from his former life. But he could not leave his wife Mangalika, whom he loved dearly. So, for the last 30 odd years Kumar has been living in Mahavilachchiya. Read the rest of this entry »

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The future of the meshed up e-village

One of the most talked about topics in ICT4D today is the Mahavilachchiya project. A joint venture by Horizon Lanka and ICTA, it is slated to be the first model e-village in Sri Lanka. The village which doesn’t even have fixed telephone coverage, is connected to the Internet, 24/7, by a wireless mesh technology. The decentralized and relatively inexpensive mesh happens to be the first wireless outdoor network to be implemented in Sri Lanka.

So far Horizon Lanka has helped to furnish over 30 homes with used desktop computers which the villages help themselves to access the Internet. One of the immediate outcomes is that the children have started browsing for information to help them with their studies and have started using VoIP. Read the rest of this entry »

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