Friday, 11 November 2011

Third-World IT (on a shoe string)

Our focus today was the visit to a half-way house run by Oasis. It is home to six girls that have been freed from prostitution, with the aim of helping them return to a normal, self-sufficient life style.

Yet again, we were moved by both the scale of the suffering and the dedication and effectiveness of the Oasis staff.

This visit doubled up with Dave running a training session on Communication Skills and I one on IT (small topic really).

My session was prefixed by a morning working with Oasis's 21 year old IT administrator, to help figure out areas for improvement. He is the sole support to 30-40 users in Mumbai, spread across at least four different offices (in can take two hours to drive across Mumbai at rush hour). Most of their equipment is over ten years old (Windows XP on a P2 with 500MB RAM). We came up with a proposal for a (free) Google based architecture to help address their needs. Just wish I was here for four more weeks in order to help implement it.

Today was a turning point for me. For the last few years I've been wanting to use my skills to help people in the third-world, and I was not only finally doing just that, but I glimpsed how it could be applied to other NGO's too. This was combined by a deep appreciation of the difference that Oasis is making to the lives of Mumbai's poor. I don't know what will happen next, but I'll return to the UK with a passion to do much more to help Oasis India.

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