Tradition gets tech update with Kazakh ‘IT Yurt’

Dec 25, 2011
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A library in the east Kazakhstan city of Ust-Kamenogorsk is trying a new way to get kids connected to information.  Earlier this month, the city’s Pushkin Library opened a new IT center housed in a yurt structure.

In Kazakhstan, a yurt is a round dwelling made of a wooden-ribbed frame and felt covering and is was traditionally used by nomads on the Central Asian steppes. The IT Yurt offers Wi-Fi, laptops, web cameras, scanners, and other  devices for local youth to use.

In addition to offering web access and tech devices like copiers and scanners, the yurt also plans to give training to local youth on topics like the Internet, web design and job skills, according to Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL) an international NGO that helped fund the project.  The yurt is also mobile and can be taken to different places.

“The Kazakh IT-yurt should become the youth center, where everyone will be able to use computers and Internet, solve everyday problems in the way like ancestors did gathering in the yurts, but not having technologies like today” the library said in a press release.

A video news report showing the IT Yurt can be found here.

About the Author

Joshua Boissevain

Joshua Boissevain is a research associate and editorial assistant at Transitions Online. He's also a freelance journalist and photographer based in Prague. Find him on twitter at @joshboissevain.
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