Wireless for Unconnected: Lambada community of Tamil Nadu connected to World Wide Web
Year 2020: Ongoing
Funded by: The Internet Society (ISOC)
Tribal Health Initiative (THI) is serving 16000 local people and providing affordable healthcare facility and in Sittlingi THI is located in Sittlingi, a tribal village in Tamilnadu 75 kilometers from Salem and 270 kilometers from the state capital Chennai. THI’s vision is to improve the lives of the people in Sittlingi. The organisation has a team of over 70 highly trained people, furthering their mission through a variety of programs in health care, community health, farming, and craft work.
Yet there was no internet connectivity in the village and not having connectivity was always an inconvenience for Sittlingi. When the Tribal Health Initiative was founded, the nearest telephone booth was a four-hour drive away – making a single phone call would take a whole day. In 2019 the Sittlingi valley finally got a semblance of connectivity. There was patchy Internet, and a few spots would catch mobile service. The tribal hospital was able to get online, enhancing its ability to provide care.
The outbreak of COVID interrupted the life of villagers felt even more unconnected to the outside world than it did before. The sales of Porgai went down by 80%, the farmer’s produce like Tamarind and other organic products didn’t have a market anymore and children’s education came to a standstill.
DEF and the Internet Society stepped in. They provided all four locations with a stable Internet connection, using free unlicensed spectrum and putting up masts that connect to each other, working as a local network.
Read more about the project here