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Tuesday, 23 October, 2001, 11:41 GMT 12:41 UK
Praise for 'inspirational' web pioneer
Nangi school
The school has several computers but no internet connection
Hundreds of you wrote to BBC News Online after reading the story of Mahabir Pun, an educational pioneer in Nepal who is trying to take his remote mountain village of Nangi into the computer age.

So far Mahabir has managed to build about a dozen computers for his local school using old spare computer parts and wooden cases.

"A great story of determination and ingenuity," wrote Jason from the United States.

"Where there's a will, there's a way. Mahabir is an inspiration."

His comments were echoed by many of you.

"Very inspirational," wrote Venkatesh Prasad from India.

Mahabir Pun
Mahabir: 'An inspiration'
"I work for a computer company and always hated my job since there was nothing good coming out of it, except that the people I work for made way too much money.

"Now I am going to concentrate on how to use my two cents worth of knowledge to help the society at large."

And Tahir Islam Nizami from Pakistan wrote: "The story really depicts the courage and zeal of a person to do something special in honour of humanity."

Recycing initiative

The way Mahabir was recycling old computer parts thrown away in the West caught the imagination.

Used computer parts
Praise for the recycling of old computer parts
"The number of old but still working PC equipment I have seen thrown out over the years by companies in this country beggars belief, especially when for a relatively minor cost it could be shipped out to places like this," wrote Allen from the UK.

"Perhaps if they work with agencies like the Red Cross, these machines could be wiped and used again?"

Iain, also from the UK wrote: "I have and have had computers, monitors, modems, cables, power supplies, software and training books which I'd love to donate to a project such as this."

"I've been to Nepal a few times and the people are great, some of the nicest people in the world live in Nepal."

Samuel Smith from the UK wrote how he had taken seven computers donated by a company and friends to schools in the West Indies.

"I am doing this as part of a UK charity called MAD International - a Christian based charity wanting to "Make a Difference" no matter where and how small," he wrote.

"We plan to ship more computers and books and possibly get involved in teaching the students some of the fundamentals of using computers."

Web ambition

Mahabir's ambition is to take his project a step further and connect the village to the internet, opening a doorway to the world.

Many of you e-mailed in with suggestions on how Mahabir could achieve his dream.

The Huguenin Rallapalli Foundation based in the US said it would consider funding such projects, suggesting Mahabir get in touch.

Stuart Hartshorn from Australia went further.

"As an information technology professional in Sydney it is easy to overlook other nations which are struggling for resources," he wrote. "I would like to contact Mahabir to see if I can help in some way."

Why hasn't any large software or hardware firm paid to connect this village yet?

Michiel van Reenen, The Netherlands
Some of you wondered why none of the large technology companies had offered to help Mahabir.

"Am I missing something here?" asked Michiel van Reenen from The Netherlands.

"Why hasn't any large software or hardware firm paid to connect this village yet? Come on Bill, here's a chance to do something useful with your money. The public relations advantages are obvious."

Many of you came up with suggestions of how Mahabir could overcome poor phone lines and the remote location of Nangi to get online.

"WorldSpace has a satellite radio that will send down almost a CD worth of data a day, and provide multi-channel CD quality audio programming," wrote Janice from the US.

This could accumulate a lot of information and copies of part of the web, with no phone. The radio would be around US$100."

Others suggested the answer might lie in setting up a wireless network.

"Depending on the topography of the land, you could try relatively inexpensive point-to-point wireless local area network or microwave links," wrote Jeremy from the US.

"I believe for a few thousand dollars in equipment you can easily span 20 or so miles at a hop."

Since BBC News Online reported on his project, he has received many e-mails offering help.

For all of you, his story was one of hope and determination.

"I would like to wish Mahabir every success in his endeavour, it's about time that the internet was seen as a force for good," wrote Andy Baxman from the UK.

If you want to get in touch with Mahabir, links to his website and the school's website are on the right of this page

See also:

30 Jul 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Nepal
06 Jun 01 | South Asia
Nepal tragedy raises internet profile
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