Arduino – Building Interactive Pieces in Rural India

A Hindi version of this text is at the very end. Thank you Kastur for translating this!

The first time I’ve heard about Arduino was years ago on a DIY workshop in Italy. Never dreamt that I would ever hold a Arduino workshop with kids in rural India and build interactive pieces with them … but exactly this is going to happen next week. Just another experiment closely connected to my we_school activities.

The workshop is a cooperation between we-school, Peter Kabel whom I know for many years and who is also involved in an NGO in Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu (southern India). Currently Peter is taking a sabbatical here in India from his professorship at the University of Applied Science in Hamburg. And our third team member is Sandy Pfaff, an Interaction Designer and one of Peter’s students. The team is completed by Yogesh Sen (15 years old), my young friend from Khajuraho who has been our “student guide” since the very beginning. He will be our translator during the workshop and hopefully engage with the students there.

Sandy designed the workshop and called “Sounds Like Fun”. It is all about prototyping and programming with sound, light and Arduino – exploring the creativity of the students. We want to engage them to “build stuff” and encourage them to realize their own ideas. With Arduino it’s possible to combine electronics and trash to create interactive light and sound installations. Sandy created a few installation before hand to show the students what is possible. Her installations can be found here. The workshop will start with an introduction into Arduino and then we will build in 2 separate groups. At the end we’ll exhibit the “pieces”.

The workshop will take place in Chasera (close to Sohna) in the Mewat District, an area considered to “be left behind”; even though it’s less than 50km away from Gurgaon, India’s fastest growing business district. In the Mewat area Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh – three of the largest Indian states – meet. More than 11 million people live in this area.

The majority of the people in Chasera and surroundings are muslims. It is said that Gandhi came here after partition and urged them not to leave for Pakistan.

The school is a 10plus2 government school with 1200 (!) students. It partnered with Mehmood Khan, with whom I worked in Patha, before and hsoted a science research program with Oxford University.

Entrance area of the school

Principal with his secretary in his office

Mehmood Khan and the prinicpal “exploring” the computer lab facilities

The text in Hindi:

Text 1 , Page 1
Text 1 , Page 2

2 thoughts on “Arduino – Building Interactive Pieces in Rural India”

  1. Hi guys! I hope this is not considered spam, but I read this article and I wanted to mention a challenge that Greenpeace is holding with the intention of having people all over the world to design solar-pumps for rural india. It’s ideal for anyone interested in diy.

    More information can be found at greenpeacechallenge(.)org

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