Start-up Scene in India: A Promising Outlook!

Silicon Valley insider Vivek Wadhwa tells us how India’s entrepreneurs will change the world. As we enter the most innovative period in history, Wadhwa sees an impending internet boom and millions of internet businesses coming up in India, and predicts that within a decade China’s manufacturing industry and India’s call centre industry will be toast.

And here is a brief interview in addition to Vivek’s talk!

Slowly – in the last few years a bit more rapidly – the start-up scene in India is growing. What are the key drivers for growth and how will the scene develop?

India has many advantages when it comes to entrepreneurship. It is already in the DNA of its people—have always thrived in commerce and trade. Now with the millions who have been trained in IT Services, are well educated and well off, and tired of working for the same big companies, we are likely to see an explosion in the numbers of startups.

Where do you see the main fields of development ? (agriculture, health, education, water, pollution, infrastructure … )

All of these. Entrepreneurs will learn the problems and build the solutions.

Do you see any chance how these developments can bridge the gap between rural and urban India?

Some of the best entrepreneurs are already looking to solve the problems of rural India. As rural India becomes connected via smartphones which have Internet access, they will also be connected to urban India—and the world—like never before.

Having this very promising outlook, where do you think the man power will come from? Many companies in India today complain that their is a huge lack of available talent …

India has no shortage of people. It is a matter of providing the hundreds of millions who are left out of the innovation economy with the education, training, and tools. Technology will soon make all of this possible as I discussed in my INK talk.

Modi’s initiative “Make in India” aiming to bring international companies and money into India to invest, do you think it will work? If so what is the frame set which might need to change and what might be the implications for India’s start-up scene?

It will work to some extent for sure. Advancing technologies will accelerate the process because we will soon be 3D printing our physical goods.

Here are the slides of Vivek’s presentation at Inhtalks:

Posted in Events/Conferences, India | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The first skatepark in rural India

Wow, what a ride so far!

Eight month ago we decided to build a skatepark with learning facilities in rural India. To be more precise: in Panna, a small buzzling town in Madhya Pradesh (MP), Central India. Even though Panna is close to Khajuraho with its world famous temples and the Panna National Park (currently 23 tigers), in the town you never ever see a tourist. Actually I’ve never seen a white person there in the last three years. It will be the first skatepark in a rural area in India. For us it’s another important milestone in implementing our ideas of the we_school-concept. It is going to be a place where children can come and skateboard and learn – in a computer lab, library and a buildathon, a room in which they can build stuff.

On Dec. 3 we will start building.

To finance this entire endevour we did an auction where we auctioned ARTBOARD – skateboards which were designed by artists all over the world. We will do another one this month – it will start November 15 and end Nov. 22 at 2 pm GMT-1!

If you don’t want to participate in our auction but still want to donate please use this bank account: we partner with skate-aid – they forward 100% of all the donations coming in and you will get a tax deductable receipt!

skate-aid e.V München
bank: Sparkasse Münsterland Ost
IBAN   DE57 400 501 50 0000 55 17 39
SWIFT   WELADED1MST

Thanks for your support!

People are often surprised when they hear this story and ask me why a skatepark and why Panna. We’ve chosen Panna because of four major reasons:

  • we are well connected there and it was easy to create a great team of highly committed people
  • land was available with connection to water and electricity
  • social infrastructure is good, meaning there are schools and children around and
  • as in almost any rural area besides cricket there are no other sports facilities.

And here again a small chapter why we think to combine learning and skateboarding is a good thing to do (by Nicola Claire):

The idea of combining fun with learning is not new, indeed, it is fundamentally the way children learn. We are taking this concept and constructing an environment which intrinsically combines an activity that is fun, but at the same time requires acquired skill, knowledge and practise, with a learning environment which provides that skill and knowledge. The young people will also have the opportunity to develop and extend their learning at a we-school hub on the same site. The young people who come to the skate-park will find everything that they need, from building their skateboard to becoming proficient users. Through the process they will learn English and maths. They will gain an understanding of force, balance and weight. They will experiment with art, colours, styles and design. They will discover body and muscle control, healthy eating and life-style choices. Above all, they will find ways to take what they have learnt back to their families and communities to support and enhance the quality of daily living.

The central figures in the local team are Shyamendra Singh aka Vini and Sanjay Tiwari aka Mantu, a local business man and the first one in Panna holding a press card. Mantu is providing the land for the skatepark and he will run its operations. Vini is a truly respected person in the area. He owns several lodges in the National Park and is highly committed to eco-friendly tourism and organic farming. For all his lodges the food is growing in the neighbouring fields – providing the local farmers a small but steady income. All food is organic – they only serve what nature has to offer. Most of his employees are locals. Many of them have been with him for many years and it’s very nice to see them “grow”.

Besides the locals we are very lucky to have Titus Dittmanns skate-aid e.V. on board – they bring in the entire expertise how to build a park. With their help we are able to raise our funds tax free and they connected us with the architect of the park (see plan and model below) and the head of construction Baumi.

Baumi, who has build several skateparks before, will lead the team of experienced skateboarders from Germany and Dehli and Bangalore in India plus local workers. I can’t wait to have all of them here early in December.

Below is a video of Shake whom I met last year in Bangalore and who also will come to help building our park! He provides some insights what is driving him to set-up skateparks

I have to say that everybody involved so far VOLUNTEERED. These guys come down here and work for 8 weeks for free!!! I only provide food and accomodation ! I think this is outstanding!

THANK YOU for that!

Here is the plan of the park:

Grundlage Pana

And here is the 3D-model:

Posted in India, we_school | Leave a comment

Toilets in India

IMG_8478At the banks of Indus river in Nimmu, Ladakh

This morning I saw this tweet by Bill Gates which triggered my immediate response (and started a discussion) …

bill

… and remembered me about this text I wrote as an introduction for a longer story “Why urban and rural India should meet”:

This is almost my third year in India now. Most of my time I’ve spent in rural areas. Sometimes at first light I drive out on my motorbike across the country. Madhya Pradesh, where I live, is crisscrossed with a web of narrow, unpaved, dusty roads on which huge potholes create small mosquito-infested lakes during the monsoon season. They take me through vast forests of teak trees to small villages where it seems like time has been standing still for decades. It’s then that I see the hidden part of India. The sprawling network of lonesome roads, which only appear as thin hairlines on any map, connect some 700,000 villages throughout the whole of India many of which are not even marked on Google maps.

Just before sunrise the men, women and children emerge from their huts and houses – homes which are mostly just one room with no furniture, no electricity and no sanitation in which the three generations of the same family plus a goat or two sleep on the ground. They carry cans of water to wash themselves after they’ve emptied their bowels somewhere. Sometimes they’ll shit right next to the road, sometimes along the railway tracks, sometimes in the fields, and very often the kids shit on the heaps of uncollected garbage where pavements should be. Right next to the chickens, pigs, donkeys, goats and cows strolling through the garbage looking for something to eat. This mixture of rotting garbage and excrement emits an acrid nauseous smell which hangs in the air like a pall. It becomes truly excruciating when they set fire to it, which they very often do.

Sordid as this is, it’s daily reality for more than half a billion people – almost the total number of people living in the U.S. and Europe. India accounts for around 36 per cent of the world’s poor. Just recently (May 2014) the United Nations published a report stating that 600 million people in India are now living below the poverty line of $ 1.25 a day.

Bill Gates started to work on toilets six years ago, a huge competiton started to re-invent the toilet. A good thing. No doubt. And necessary. But the outcome – a nightmare! Even the New York Times – who usually acts as a Gates promoter – was astonished by the lack of “rural knowledge” this entire project bared. And this is just one example of so many toilet challenges … The question seems so obvious where isn’t there a solution yet?

Technology doesn’t seem to provide anything helpful. Too expensive to roll out in masses, too far away from the “client’s” habits, environment unfriendly and and and … Why not look at rural areas in India where it’s clean and people are aware of hygiene and cleanliness and learn from them. There are examples …

– Asia’s cleanest village is in north eastern India (Mawlynnong)
– tribals in Thudukky, Agaly, Palghat, Kerala (as I just learnt now via twitter)
– Ladakh (see photo on top) is very clean

What do they do?

It starts basically with collecting the waste. There are various ways of doing it. Collecting in bamboo or wooden dust bins directed to pits and use it as manure. Collection in big holes, and again use it as manure. Keep the natural waters clean. The shit goes separately – but is used in the same way. And washing afterwards is essential. But this is what most of the people are aware of. At least this is what I see (see my description above). They find a way by themselves … going along with their habits.

Crucial seems to be that in all these areas mentioned above the literacy rate is way above average! So it goes along with education … which once again is key.

I truly believe and this is why invest the little money I have in education that with education many of the problems can be solved. We need a kind of education which suits the people’s environments and needs, not one (Western) system for the entire world. The meaning of education has very local faces and these local colors need to be addressed. A situational approach of learning is needed which aims much more towards the collective (the villages in the cases above) than towards the individual.

Posted in India, we_school | Leave a comment

Was zeichnet NEUE Führung aus ?

Sorry, once in a while I have to add blog posts in my mother tongue. The following post is about “What defines new leadership” in the enterprise world, a project I’ve been working on as a freelancer for the last year. And it’s focus is Germany only.
—————————————–

Ich habe im vergangenen Jahr immer wieder für das Projekt “Forum Gute Führung” gearbeitet, unter der Federführung von nextpractice in Bremen. Ich habe Interviews mit Führungskräften und Experten gemacht, Texte geschrieben und beim Relaunch der Website mitgeholfen. Die Arbeit hat Spass gemacht und auch ein paar graue Haare mehr gebracht. Das Projekt ist eines von vielen sog. INQA-Projekten (Initiative Neue Qualität der Arbeit) die vom Bundesminiterium für Arbeit und Soziales gefördert werden. nextpractice hat die Projektleitung übernommen und arbeitet mit anderen Unternehmen zusammen. Für mich war der Prozess der vergangenen 15 Monate selbst ein Paradebeispiel dafür, wie facettenreich das Thema Führung ist und wie groß die Spannungsfelder sein können, die sich hin und wieder auftun. Die unterschiedlichsten Arbeitsweisen und Führungstile von Ministerium, Inhaber geführten Unternehmen und freelancern verdeutlichten gewissermassen die Aktualität und Relevanz der Studienergebnisse – es waren immer wieder Aushandlungsprozesse notwendig und der Bedarf an einer gemeinschaftlichen Verständnisgrundlage war groß.

Führung ist ein spannendes Thema und wie sie sich verändert im Zeitalter der Vernetzung noch ein viel spannenderes. Wir hatten diesem Thema bereits vor 4 Jahren ein ganzes we-magazine gewidmet – mit internationalem Fokus.

 

In dieser Ausgabe waren auch Peter Kruse (GF nextpractice GmbH) und Thomas Sattelberger (ehemaliger Personalvorstand der Deutschen Telekom AG) vertreten. Beide sind heute die “öffentlichen Gesichter” wenn es darum geht, das “Forum Gute Führung” nach aussen zu vertreten. Beide werden auch am 15 Oktober 2014 auf der Zukunft Personal in Köln in eimem Gespräch das Projekt vorstellen, die Ergebnisse der Studie diskutieren und einen Ausblick geben, wo die Reise denn hin gehen soll. Begleitet wird der Auftritt der beiden von dem FutureLab HR, in dem ganz gezielt zu einzelnen Führungsthemen vernetzt in Gruppen gearbeitet wird.

Doch first things first;-)

Der Internetplattform “Forum Gute Führung” liegt eine nextexpertizer Studie von nextpractice zugrunde. 400 Führungskräfte wurden dazu befragt. Ein Querschnitt durch die Führungslandschaft in Deutschland: Dax-Unternehmen und KMUs aus allen Regionen der Republik und vielen Branchen.

Die Ergebnisse in Kurzfassung

In dem aus den Interviews errechneten Werteraum “Gute Führung” wird erkennbar, welche Aspekte des Führungshandelns noch akzeptiert, welche in Frage gestellt oder bereits klar abgelehnt werden. Darüber hinaus zeigen die Daten, wohin sich „gute Führung“ in Zukunft nach Einschätzung der Erfahrungsexperten entwickeln wird und was den handelnden Personen auf dem Weg dahin besonders wichtig ist. Eine detaillierte Darstellung finden Sie hier auf der Projektseite selbst.

Es wurden 10 Kernaussagen beonders heraus gestellt:

1. Flexibilität und Diversität sind weitgehend akzeptierte Erfolgsfaktoren.
2. Prozesskompetenz ist für alle das aktuell wichtigste Entwicklungsziel.
3. Selbst organisierende Netzwerke sind das favorisierte Zukunftsmodell.
4. Hierarchisch steuerndem Management wird mehrheitlich eine Absage erteilt.
5. Kooperationsfähigkeit hat Vorrang vor alleiniger Renditefixierung.
6. Persönliches Coaching ist ein unverzichtbares Werkzeug für Führung.
7. Motivation wird an Selbstbestimmung und Wertschätzung gekoppelt.
8. Gesellschaftliche Themen rücken in den Fokus der Aufmerksamkeit.
9. Führungskräfte wünschen sich Paradigmenwechsel in der Führungskultur.
10. Führungskultur wird kontrovers diskutiert.

Der Werteraum “gute Führung” steht allen, die mehr erfahren wollen, zur Verfügung. Es besteht sogar die Möglichkeit, dass Sie die “Daten fragen” – sprich sich selbst durch den Raum navigieren und wichtige Resonanzfelder von Führung erkennen und besser verstehen lernen. Sollten Sie im Datenraum verloren gehen, können sie via Twitter oder als Kommentar auf der Plattform ihre Fragen stellen.

Was mich persönlich am meisten an den Ergebnissen fasziniert hat, ist die Tatsache, wie “verloren” sich anscheinend viele Manager fühlen und wie ohnmächtig sie als Einzelpersonen zu sein scheinen, um den Herausforderungen, denen sie in den Unternehmen gegenüber stehen, alleine entgegen zu treten. Die Sehnsucht nach einem kollektiven Vorgehen ist gross und wie es Peter Kruse formuliert auch notwendig. Er sagt, dass Führung im Unternehmen nicht losgelöst von der Gesellschaft betrachtet werden kann. Führung ist zu einem gesamtgesellschaftlichen Thema geworden und hat nun auch die Mangementetagen der Unternehmen erreicht. Ausführlich erklärt Peter Kruse dies in dem folgenden Interview, das ich mit ihm gemacht habe:

Die Studie und auch das Video geben den Startschuss für einen bundesweiten Diskursprozess zum Thema „gute Führung“ – also dem von den Managern gewünschten gesamtgesellschaftlichen Aushandlungsprozess. Das Projekt endet nicht mit der Ergebnispräsentation, sondern fängt jetzt erst richtig an. Leider geht dies in dem sehr lebendigen Artikel in der ZEIT zu der Studie etwas unter.

Wie sieht dieser Aushandlungsprozess aus und wie und wann findet er statt?

Dieser Aushandlungsprozess findet online und offline statt. In beiden Situationen wird das Großgruppen-Moderationstool nextmoderator eingesetzt. Der nextmoderator erlaubt einem strukturierten zielführenden Diskurs, in dem die Teilnehmer zu im Vorfeld definierten Fragestellungen gemeinsam Ideenansätze und/oder Empfehlungen entwickeln. Dank der durchgängigen Transparenz sind Doppelungen bei der Eingabe von Gedanken, Ideen oder Bewertungen deutlich reduziert und dadurch erhöht sich die Effizienz. Die entstehende Inhaltsdynamik fördert ein einheitliches Verständnis welches für einen konstruktiven durchaus kritischen Austausch notwendig ist. Durch mehrfache iterative Wechsel zwischen dem Generieren von Ideen (jeder sieht alles) und ihrer Bewertung (jeder kann alles bewerten), kristallisieren sich sehr schnell die WIRKLICH relevanten Ansätze heraus. Sogar eventuelle Ambivalenzen sind sofort sichtbar und im Diskurs aufklärbar. Auf der Zukunft Personal werden im FutureLab HR die ersten Workshops zum Thema “Gute Führung” in dieser Form durchgeführt. Geplant sind dann ab November weitere online Workshops auf der Plattform selbst. Und als besonderes Highlight sozusagen ist ein grosses Live-Event in Vorbereitung, welches 500 Führungskräfte an vier Standorten vernetzt und gemeinsam an dem “Führungsleitbild für Deutschland” arbeiten lässt.

Ich denke, dieser Aushandlungsprozess ist der ganz entscheidende Mehrwert den dieses Projekt bietet.

Ich bin gespannt, wieviele der Führungskräfte, die sich diesen “Austauschprozess so gewünscht” haben, nun auch tatsächlich bereit sind, Zeit und Gedanken dafür herzugeben und gemeinsam in diesen Prozess einzutreten. Es ist Arbeit und es ist nicht “for free”. Die Manager selbst müssen etwas dafür tun. Es ist immer eine Sache “Studien zu konsumieren”, es ist eine andere Sache, dann aktiv auch für die Veränderung einzutreten. Dies macht man in der Regel nur, wenn man an diese Veränderung wirklich glaubt und diese will. Walk your talk liebe Führungskräfte!

Posted in Ideas worth spreading | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Peer-to-peer infrastructure and thinking applied for an entire country: Ecuador

FLOK: Free/Libre Open Knowledge
Also known as the social knowledge economy project.

Ecuador is exploring how the principle of open knowledge might reshape its economic and social development.

Michel Bauwens, founder of the P2P Foundation, was heading the research department of FLOK. His direct involvement ended June 2014.

I know Michel from the early days of our we-magazine. He contacted us after the launch of the first volume and contributed to the second one: “The Emergence of Open Design and Open Manufacturing.”

When FLOK started it was announced as the first serious attempt of an entire country to peer-to-peer structure it’s economy and society. It seemed to be backed by the government, so the translation of the theory and already existing practice into legislative (law, government structure, educational institutions ..) was planned to be part of the process! Quote Michel Bauwens: “When we started the FLOK process, it was presented to us as a project that was strategic for the Ecuadorian government, as supported by the Ministry of Knowledge and the Secretariat of Innovation and would systematically move the country to a social knowledge economy, and that would be enthusiastically received by civil organisations.”

Reality turned out to be different – the “old system” was striking back in various forms. Michel describes it here in more details

The research done and made public is very helpful for our further way walking towards – what I call – a “Greater We”. In the following 4 videos Michel explains FLOK itself, the research they’ve done and their suggestions for education, economy (micro and macro) and society. A MUST SEE (20 minutes) for all those who are looking for post-capitalism models which put the concept of the commons in the center of the activities. It’s neither communism nor socialism, yes, it’s rather left than right. It provides meaning and value for the many. It’s trying to find a better balance between the rich and the poor.


What is FLOK?

Knowledge

Michel argues for a “reciprocity based license” which basically says: “If you contribute to our commons, you can use our commons. If you don’t contribute to our commons and you make a profit from it, then you have to share the profit with us.” This avoids piracy – so Michel – escpecially it would help rural areas to be exploited by big multi national corporations.


Value Regimes

Michel says that we’ve been moving from “Cognitive Capitalism” (which he explains in the video) to what he calls “Netarchical (= hierarchy in the Net) Capitalism” in which the creators of the value do NOT benefit from the financial outcome of the value created (examples: FACEBOOK, crowd working). In this system we haven’t democratized the means of monetisation. See the following graphic.

facebook_capitalism

Michel suggests to move towards a (mature) civic peer-to-peer economy where the value returns to the value creators.

Technological Regimes

Michel is describing this 4 technological frames in which we experience today the commons – his suggestions is to move towards the GLOBAL COMMONS

global commons

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Experimenting …..

Slowly, slowly I am getting ready for another motorbike tour up to the Himalayas … final destination: Leh where I will stay with a friend and do some writing. Some stories of my life;-) But I am also planning to climb up a few passes (while Thomas is writing;-), Khardung La Pass and Chang La Pass are definitely high on the list.

So I am trying to figure out what is the best way to fix the camera on the bike … I want to get some video footage, not sure what for right now … Here is the first attempt. It’s filmed in Jhansi, leaving the town towards Gwalior (both MP) … the camera was (loosely) fixed in my pack back which I had above the tank … not ideal but the result is not too bad …

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Truth untold

Fukushima is just another story where governments and media try desperately to hide the truth … and so are all the EU governments … do they tell us anything about the perils? Nope.

Just watch and see what the future will bring because the present is a lie:

Posted in Activism | Leave a comment

Deo Bagh

In God’s garden I was in heaven ;-) Literally.

Deo Bagh is one of the BEST hotels I ever stayed! It is located in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, and it is the most perfect stop in between Ken River Lodge (where I stay in Khajuraho) and Delhi on a motorbike ride. It’s almost half way and it’s an oasis of silence. Just the perfect spot after 5 or 6 hours on the dirty dusty roads;-)

IMG_7547
“Hallway” to the rooms

I arrived around 1 pm after a beautiful ride from Ken River via Orcha and Jhansi. By now the new motorbike was MINE;-) It was a bit tricky to find the place since I entered Gwalior at the complete opposite side, but with the help of an auto ricksha driver I made it through the busy, loud and chaotic center of Gwalior.

The moment you enter Deo Bagh you are in a different world.

picture15
Entrance of Deo Bagh

After a long hot shower in the HUGE bathroom I slept for 3.5 hours and when I woke up I felt like a newborn.
I walked around the temples of the Maharatsha which are part of the hotel property and enjoyed that NOBODY was there.
A quite unusual thing for India.

A light dinner in the evening and a good book to read was all I needed.
In the next morning I left for Dehli (via Agra) at 5 am.

And all of this for 40 Euro a night!
Not bad.

Here is a short video of the place – outdoor.

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It’s their only chance out …

… says Vini (alias Shyamendra Singh), the owner of Ken River Lodge in Panna, talking about the children in Panna, a small town in Madhya Pradesh. Ken River Lodge is my home when I am in Khajuraho or Panna. I know Vini for more than 2 years now and I am very happy that he embraced our idea of building the we_school skatepark in Panna. In this short little video clip he explains life in Panna and why it is important for the children to get something like a skatepark:

A bit outside Panna is the land where we build the skatepark. It is provided by Sanjay Tawari, a business man in Panna and father of two children. He is very much engaged in the social development of his hometown. It’s a beautiful piece of land – just so typical of Madhya Pradesh. Some huge trees at the Western border of the land and surrounded by villages where Adivasi live. A school is near by, they say 160 children go there.

IMG_7527

During our meeting yesterday – overlooking Ken River – Sanjay and I discussed the items needed to build the skatepark, we went over the materail list which was provided by our German partner skate-aid, the NGO which is supervising the construction process.
Special thanks goes to Rahul from Khajuraho our translator; and thanks to Google translator which really helped well in finding some specific construction expressions in Hindi.

meeting
Sanjay on my left, Rahul on my right

The idea is not only to build a skatepark on this land but also a small we-lab with laptop computers, a cafeteria and 2,3 rooms where people can stay. The cafeteria and the rooms will be build by Sanjay and Vini, the rest we’ll do. The we-lab will be equipped with laptops which again will be provided by nextpractice … the program which combines skateboarding and learning will be designed by skate-aid and Nicola Claire. Can’t wait o see this entire thing taking of …

land_park

So the next steps will be to find the right guy to build the park – skate-aid is already looking for this person – and we at we-school are looking for more funds (another ARTBOARD/SKATEBOARD auction is on its way) and in addition we will raise money on social crowd funding platforms. But we have enough to start …

And here again a small chapter why we are doing this and why we think it is a good thing (by Nicola Claire):

The idea of combining fun with learning is not new, indeed, it is fundamentally the way children learn. We are taking this concept and constructing an environment which intrinsically combines an activity that is fun, but at the same time requires acquired skill, knowledge and practise, with a learning environment which provides that skill and knowledge. The young people will also have the opportunity to develop and extend their learning at a we-school hub on the same site. The young people who come to the skate-park will find everything that they need, from building their skateboard to becoming proficient users. Through the process they will learn English and maths. They will gain an understanding of force, balance and weight. They will experiment with art, colours, styles and design. They will discover body and muscle control, healthy eating and life-style choices. Above all, they will find ways to take what they have learnt back to their families and communities to support and enhance the quality of daily living.

Posted in ARTBOARDS/SKATEBORADS, India | 3 Comments

For a better tomorrow …

… is the aim of the Samarpan School for underprivileged children in Kishangarh, Delhi. The school was started in April 2007 with 40 children in the mornings, providing informal education. Today it has 160 children aged five to fifteen from nursery to class 5 studying from prescribed CBSE textbooks. Children leaving from class 5 are helped to get admission in senior secondary schools. A computer center was set up in February 2011 with ten computers and two teachers. Classes run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Children receive a breakfast including cereal and milk, a snack during break and rice, dal, a green vegetable, roti and salad for lunch; egg, soy nuggets, banana and a seasonal fruit once a week (read more about the school and its achievements here).

Bronwyn, a charity worker from Australia who is living in India for more than 30 years, introduced me to the school and to Sherna Waida, the principal. I first went there a year ago to see the classroom they’ve build out of plastic bottles filled with sand (youtube video here). Somehow we’ve kept in touch.

When the idea of our ARTBOARD/SKATEBOARD project came up one of the options where to build the skatepark was Samarpan School. Unfortunately the land situation in Kishangarh is a bit tricky and many uncertainties would have been involved, so we decided not to build there. But it brought me back to Sherna and the needs of her school. High on Sherna’s priority list were laptops. One laptop per classroom would allow them to teach the kids in a modern and new way.

With the help of nextpractice, a company I freelance for in Germany, namely Andreas Greve and Peter Kruse, we could make Sherna’s dream come true. nextpractice provided six laptops for Samarpan! Thank you so much!

When I went back to Germany last week I packed the laptops into the biggest suitcase I had. 36 kg (!) – it was a real job to get them to the airport. As you can see the suitcase was almost bursting;-) At the Lufthansa check in a nice surprise was waiting for me. First of all they didn’t charge anything for the extra kg and on top of that they upgraded me and I could comfortably fly in the upper deck in their new 747-800. Nice!

IMG_7572

I arrived early Monday morning in Delhi, it was 1 am when the captain announced that the temperature in Delhi is still 36 degree! Monday afternoon – during the heat of the day – I delivered the laptops to Sherna:

IMG_7574
Sherna Waida, principal of Samarpan School, and one of the teachers storage the laptops in their computer room.

In this interview Sherna gives an overview of what Samarpan School is all about.

And to see more kids getting great results from Samarpan School we will try to get more books for their library …

IMG_7504

… and we are planning to build at least a small ramp for skateboarding in their school yard!

IMG_7503

And this story had a beautiful and surprising side effect: when I posted my fully packed suitcase on facebook and gave the glimpse of the story, Frank Roebers, CEO of Synaxon AG, contacted me and told me he had an idea how to support me;-) After a brief facebook chat I have 2000 Euro more in my pockets which help me to continue my work in incredible India. Thank you Frank!

He cold it a social media success story;-)
Indeed it is.

Posted in ARTBOARDS/SKATEBORADS, India | 1 Comment