Pradeep Lokhande is an India-based entrepreneur who has been helping bring computers into some of the most remote corners of his country while simultaneously bringing information about rural villages to the city. After working for a multinational company which had him traveling around the country, he realized just how isolated some communities were. With this realization in mind he began Rural Relations, a now 14 year old organization, to help bridge this gap. Mr. Lokhande wanted to help make villagers comfortable with computers and information technology, so he set out to install computers in places where interest was high, such as secondary schools. To date, he was installed over 450 computers across more than 440 villages.
To finance his project Lokhande is appealing to compatriot’s sense of being “Non-Resident Villagers (NRV);” Lokhande explains that every Indian has deep roots to the village they grew up in, or from where their parents came from. All have a deep sense of commitment to the community and are thus willing to help out. The program has engaged a number of NRVs from overseas who have provided a number of computers and other technologies to continue the program’s growth.
Some of the new projects Rural Relations is working on include Rural Voyage, a program that provides highly current information in audio-visual format to villages. There is also the Village Developer, which brings trained local village youths to continue the learning process in the community, and the Rural Barometer which provides live information about the villages to help forecast upcoming trends.
You can read more about this program from an article in the BBC today.