Tilak Pun, an engineer at Knowledge Mosaic Inc., a Seattle-based information technology company, will depart for his native Nepal on July 12th, taking the next step in his plan for Solar Energy for Shikha School. The school, of which Pun is a graduate, suffers frequent power outages, often leaving the students in the dark for days at a time. Along with co-worker Clif Swiggett and family, Pun plans to transport, assemble, and install ten solar panels—based off a prototype built and tested on the Knowledge Mosaic roof—to bring reliable energy to Shikha Secondary School. They will trek along the famed Annapurna Circuit and carry, with the help of Shikha students and several mules, over 1,400 pounds of equipment to an elevation of almost 7,000 feet. Ultimately, says Pun, “quality education is the goal.”
According to Pun, access to a more reliable power source will allow the students to not only receive a better and more diverse education through research opportunities, videos, and other resources available via the Internet, but also to see how their education can be applied practically towards achieving their goals. “Basically [they] have this mentality that [they] can’t do anything with the kind of education that they are receiving,” says Pun. “That’s what I wanted to change.” In more developed areas where technology resources and quality education are more accessible, Pun says that students find it easier to grasp the connection between education and their aspirations beyond the classroom.
Pun was able to overcome similar obstacles through his training to become a member of the elite Nepalese military corps known as the Gurkhas, which allowed him to travel to Singapore where, he says, he saw the “real world” and its many new possibilities—
Once in Nepal, Pun and the others will travel on foot to his home village of Shikha and recruit students to help him transport the heavy equipment. They will be trekking up the same path that Pun himself, carrying 75 pounds of rocks in a backpack, once ran as part of his military training. The journey will be made even more arduous because, as Pun states, “it is monsoon season” and the path is rampant with leeches and occasional landslides.
The company will be throwing a send-off party for Pun on July 11th from 4-6 p.m. at the Knowledge Mosaic offices, 3450 16th Ave West Suite #301. The press is invited to attend. Pun, Swiggett, and company president Peter Schwartz will be available for interviews and photos.
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Founded in 2001, Knowledge Mosaic has emerged as a leading provider of online information resources to law firms, government agencies, financial institutions, corporations, and others in the business and finance sector.