Mahabir Pun, a scientist, educator, social entrepreneur, and activist from Nepal, is renowned for his impactful work in utilizing wireless technologies to uplift off-the-grid regions in the Himalayas. He is recognized as a trailblazer in the fields of technology and research and is credited with bringing wireless Internet technology to rural areas of Nepal.
The Man Behind the Name
Date of Birth & Death:
Born on March 10, 1971
Married to Sabita Pun
Two children – a son and a daughter
Resides in Nangi Village, Myagdi, Nepal
- Established wireless technology for internet connectivity in the Himalayan region
- Founded the National Innovation Center
Born on January 22, 1955, in the mountainous village of Nangi in the Myagdi district of western Nepal, Mahabir Pun faced challenges in his early life, assisting his family with household chores and tending to livestock. Despite financial constraints, his father invested in Mahabir’s education after retiring from the Gurkha regiment.
Early Challenges and Determination
Mahabir Pun’s journey commenced in Raghugram, where he faced early challenges due to poor health and limited resources. Despite the odds, his determination to pursue education prevailed.
Education Amidst Hardships Studying in a local school, Mahabir faced difficulties due to poor health and a lack of resources. With only a single copy, a pencil, and sheer determination, he continued his education, demonstrating resilience in the face of financial constraints.
After completing high school, Mahabir worked as a teacher for 12 years, supporting his siblings’ education. In 1989, he secured a partial scholarship to the University of Nebraska at Kearney, earning a bachelor’s degree in science education in 1992. He later returned to Nepal, recognizing the need for sustainable education in Nangi, and founded the Himachal High School.
Overcoming Obstacles Mahabir’s story is one of overcoming obstacles. Despite financial constraints, he pursued higher education in the UK and the US, supported by scholarships that recognized his potential and dedication.
University Journey His educational journey culminated at the University of Nebraska, where he earned a Master’s degree in Educational Administration. This achievement marked the beginning of his impactful contributions to technology and education.
Technological and Educational Contributions
Passion for Technology Mahabir Pun’s passion for technology and education propelled him to contribute significantly to the development of his village and beyond. One of his remarkable achievements includes establishing wireless technology for internet connectivity in the Himalayan region.
National Innovation Center Driven by his commitment to innovation, Mahabir founded the National Innovation Center. This initiative reflects his dedication to fostering technological advancements and educational opportunities in Nepal.
Continued Efforts for Economic Development
Emphasizing Education and Innovation Even today, Mahabir Pun continues his efforts for economic development, emphasizing the pivotal role of education and innovation. His life story serves as an inspiration, illustrating the transformative power of perseverance and dedication.
Mahabir Pun’s return to Nangi in 2001 marked the beginning of his mission to enhance educational opportunities. He modernized the village school, introducing computer training and initiating income-generating activities like yak and rabbit farming, cheese and jam production, and camping operations to fund the university and create job opportunities.
Nepal Wireless Networking Project
In 2002, Mahabir Pun founded the Nepal Wireless Networking Project to address the communication challenges in remote Himalayan communities. Despite obstacles, including a government ban on WiFi gear due to conflicts, he successfully connected 13 mountain communities to the Internet and established a Wi-Fi network in 2006. The project expanded to over 175 villages, enabling e-learning, e-healthcare, local e-commerce, and more.
National Innovation Center
In 2012, Mahabir Pun registered the nonprofit “Rashtriya Abishkar Kendra,” also known as the National Innovation Center. The center aims to promote research and development for the nation’s economic growth. Mahabir is currently running a crowdfunding campaign to support the center’s initiatives, including the construction of a 10 MW hydroelectric facility.
Awards and Recognition
Mahabir Pun’s significant contributions have garnered numerous awards and recognitions. He became an Ashoka Fellow in 2002 and received the Social Innovations Award in 2004. The Magsaysay Award in 2017 and induction into the Internet Hall of Fame in 2014 further highlight his achievements. Mahabir Pun was also honored with an honorary doctorate from the University of Nebraska in 2007.
Marriage and Family
In June 1998, Mahabir married Ommaya Pun. They have a daughter named June Pun, born on September 20, 1998, in Pokhara. Despite personal and professional commitments, Mahabir remained dedicated to his vision of providing better educational opportunities in the remote Himalayan region.
In conclusion, Mahabir Pun’s life is a narrative of triumph over adversity, marked by perseverance, dedication, and a relentless commitment to making a positive impact on his community. His journey from the Himalayan region to global educational recognition showcases the transformative power of education and innovation. Mahabir Pun stands as a beacon of hope, proving that one person’s determination can bring about significant positive change.
Meanwhile, you can explore more about Mahabir Pun’s work and contributions on the National Innovation Center website.
In addition, his story teaches us that with determination and innovation, one can overcome any challenge. Therefore, Mahabir Pun’s life serves as a reminder that, in the face of adversity, dedication and a commitment to positive change can lead to remarkable achievements.
Where was Mahabir Pun born?
Mahabir Pun was born in the Bagad region of the Himalayas.
When was Mahabir Pun born?
Mahabir Pun was born on March 10, 1971.
What challenges did Mahabir Pun face in his early life?
In his early life, Mahabir Pun faced challenges related to poor health and limited resources, particularly during his education in Raghugram.
How did Mahabir Pun pursue education despite financial constraints?
Mahabir Pun continued his education with determination, using only a single copy and a pencil amidst financial constraints.
Where did Mahabir Pun pursue higher education?
Mahabir Pun pursued higher education in the UK and the US, completing his Master’s degree in Educational Administration at the University of Nebraska.
What significant contribution did Mahabir Pun make to rural development?
Mahabir Pun established wireless technology for internet connectivity in the Himalayan region, making a substantial contribution to rural development.
What is Mahabir Pun currently emphasizing for economic development?
Mahabir Pun continues to emphasize the importance of education and innovation for economic development, showcasing his ongoing commitment to positive change.