LoveTheOne are a small NGO currently operating in southern India, providing medical relief to poor, destitute and abused children, "one child at a time." Led by two paediatricians, LTO are in the process of building a 'Kidz Haven' in Southern India, as a place where vulnerable children can come to, simply to regain their childhoods.

General Information


Love The One are only a small outfit, and since the addition of 'andylockran' to the team in March 2009, their basic IT needs are beginning to be met. Very little of what is currently done by the project uses IT. Records are paper-based and email is 'outsourced' to Google Apps.


In the summer of 2009, the paediatricians laptops both broke down, and were replaced by two MacBooks. Since the majority of work done on the computers has historically been emailing and creating a monthly newsletter, the Macs have come into their own (in comparison to having to use Microsoft PowerPoint or Publisher, as was done previously).

Ubuntu, however, is being used on two servers to do a remote incremental backup of work stored on the computers, and to power an increasingly computer-based database of patient, volunteer and partner information. There is also a netbook running Ubuntu which gets used by the local volunteers as it can run in the local language.

Part of the charity's work is also in educating the children. Although not currently a focus due to the need for medical provision, plans are forming to train and equip the children with basic IT skills. There are a number of projects already operating in this area, so Love The One may look to partner with an existing project to provide the qualifications.


With more and more volunteers coming out to work alongside Love The One, there needs to be a centralised storage of information, providing access to a mixed environment of computers. Ubuntu can be used as the core operating system for the network servers, and may also provide local language support for the indigenous volunteers.



Whilst Ubuntu may have been the cheapest option intially, it's perceived 'ease-of-use' for the end user is not yet realised. Although Ubuntu have made such a vast improvement in relatively little time, Apple are leading the market in providing end-user friendly interfaces. On the server, the choice of Ubuntu is a no-brainer, as I've found it to be a very stable and upgradeable option, compared to other distros which invariably break during a major upgrade.


With so many devices needing to be integrated to the system, now and in the future, the only choice was a standards based environment which could cope with such demand. Coupled with Ubuntu serving web-based services for administration needs, rather than desktop applications, it provides the fullest option for continued development in the long term future.

Process not Product

Since being involved on the charity side of the equation, rather than the IT supplier side of the equation, I've been able to use Ubuntu and open source software in a much 'freer' way. Rather than having to shoehorn the organisation into a certain product in order to make them efficient, I've been able to develop and recommend software which fits what we already want. We focus on our process, and find or develop software to fit.

Interview Questions

  • What is the mission of your organisation?

    A Health, Advocacy and Development. To provide free medical care to children to the age of 18, to promote the UN convention on the rights of the child, and to develop the local people we work with to continue the work.

  • Can you give us a few examples of what you have done? Maybe you have some pictures you can share?

    A See the website at

  • Other Software

    • Did you also use other linux distros?

      A No, just OSX and Windows XP.

    • Did you also use proprietary software?

      A Yes.

      • In this case, what feature do you think is missing in Ubuntu that forced you to choose proprietary software?

        A It was the perceived ease of use for the end user, and the marketing of Apple that led to OSX being chosen as the platform of choice. The way in which the graphics are manipulated on the page is much simpler than with or PowerPower, but due to the perceived ease of use, the end user is much more willing to blame themselves during the initial learning curve, whereas with ubuntu, they were much more willing to blame the operating system.

  • Suggestions

    • What do you suggest should be done in Ubuntu to better match your needs?

      A It continues to develop the end-user experience.

    • What would you like to see improved in Ubuntu resources like documentation?

      A In the NGO field, I believe there are many cases where supposedly 'bespoke' software can actually be developed and shared across a number of organisations with similar needs. I'd like to see the Ubuntu community bringing these people together to help create, or guide the development of this kind of software.

  • Experiences

    • What is the biggest difficulty you encountered with Ubuntu?

      A Getting other people to believe how good it is :)

    • and what do you think is the best trick you learned along the way?

      A Probably to spend time reading a bit about the software before jumping in. Also, the power of the command line to do stuff. It's a steep learning curve but sometimes it can speed you up no end.

    • What would you suggest to our readers that are interested in an initiative like yours?

      A Since your readers are probably already active and engaged in Ubuntu, I'd suggest that they look at how the software they're developing or using could be used by other NGOs. Living in a tech world, sometimes tech can be seen as the be-all and end-all. In reality technology is a small part of the project, but its mismanagement can bring the project to its knees. In these cases, it's not about doing to awesome projects with all the glory, but simple backups and services which keep things ticking over.

    • How can interested readers help your organisation?

      A The best way that technical people can help would be to get in touch with 'andylockran' either in #ubuntu-ngo, to help with suggestions or development of software which will assist the work.

Photos and Stories

There are so many stories and photos to show of the project, so I suggest you take a look at the website and find out more. However, the following story explains the inspiration behind the initiative.

The Starfish Story

A man was walking along a beach when in the distance he could see a small boy down on the shore line. As he got closer he could see the hundreds and thousands of starfish, washed up by an unusually strong tide, and left for dead stranded on the beach.

The man paused and watched the little boy repeatedly bending down, picking each starfish up one by one and tossing it back into the water.

The man approached the little boy and said “Young man, what are you doing? Stop as you will tire yourself out, there are too many starfish stranded that you can’t make a difference here.”

The young boy with tears in his eyes looked up at the older man, stooped down silently, picked up another starfish and threw it back into the ocean.

  • '“It made a difference to that one” he said.'


NGO/CaseStudy/LoveTheOne (last edited 2009-09-09 18:07:57 by 218)