In the first week of January I wrote a post on the Jhai Foundation's remote IT project, a really ingenious effort to bring Internet connectivity to Lao villages via wireless networking, hand-crank generators, and low-wattage computers. Computers and the Net, explains the Jhai Web site, allow Lao rice growers and weavers to better price their products and expand their markets?they help the little guy tap into the globalized economy.The group was raising money to get the system in place before the monsoon season, and I promised I'd report back here on how successful their efforts were.
The happy answer is very. On Friday I spoke to Lee Thorn, chair of the board at Jhai, as he prepared to depart on Monday for Laos. He tells me that in the days following Jhai's DayPop Top 40 listing and the burst of links it reflects, the organization received around 150 donations totalling approx. $10,000—enough to put the first phase of the project into action. (For the entire project, they need another $15,000.)