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Wikipedia is Changing Lives

Here are just a few of the amazing stories that our users shared with us. We thank them for their willingness to tell their story about Wikipedia.

I was recently deployed for the second time to Iraq this past year. I was a Section Sergeant for a "Gun Truck" team of 25 Soldiers attached to an Infantry Battalion. We spent about 400 days in the Babil To: Province of Iraq and conducted over 450 patrols. We were in constant interaction with the Iraqi culture and population out in sector and we had no knowledge of their culture and history. I did not want us to be "bad" ambassadors for the U.S. and the only way I could make sure my Soldiers respected the Iraqi people was to educate them on the history of Islam and culture of Iraq. With only a laptop in our Tactical Operations Center, I accessed Wikipedia weekly and researched everything from the rich history of our area in Iraq to the Shiite religion. Knowledge breaks all barriers and eliminates fear. Thank you.

I'm from Agnam-Goly, a Sahelian village in north-eastern Senegal with a population of 3,143 inhabitants. (...) I used Wikipedia the first time in 2007 for educational purposes while I was studying in Cheikh Anta DIOP university of Dakar. At the beginning, I thought like many other students in Dakar that the Wikipedia articles are all completed work to which I can't add anything- I mean a closed system. (...) But by curiosity, I entered the name of my village (Agnam-Goly) within the Wikipedia search tool, and I noticed that the article entitled "Agnam-Goly" does not exist but I can create it. And I said to myself "wow, how come?!". I was so happy to know that I can be part of the system, I mean becoming an active Wikipedia user and contributor.

(...)

Well, I started elaborating on the article about Agnam-Goly (...) Then I shared worldwide lots of information about my village: its history, tradition, geography, economic, social organization, myths, beliefs, people, architecture, and culture. As I didn't have a digital camera for my first Wikipedia writings, I said to myself that I can use a drawing which I can scan and share. The first image I used for my village was a diagram of its infrastructures: its school, health clinic, borehole and wells, the central market, the soccer field and the mosques. And that idea works quite good as I do not have a digital camera. But it can be hard to convey every reality of my village through drawing and it is time consuming. So I started saving some money in order to buy a digital camera, which took me four months. I bought a digital camera and took more than one thousand pictures related to my village so that I can share them through Wikimedia commons and use some of them to elaborate on the article about my village.

(...)

But what I learnt most from all of that is the fact that the best of the communities is the community of knowledge and sharing and that's what WIKIPEDIA means to me.

(...)

PS: I wish I had money to donate to Wikipedia. I hope to do so one day, after all, I made the digital camera possible!


I am the older sister of a man with autism who is truly curious about the world. After showing him how to pose a question on the computer and bring up Wikipedia, he developed his own way to investigate maps, eras, history, space, well the list goes on and on. I was working on a project and was stumped by the origin of a concept. He astonished me by typing a related word on to the screen, then bringing up Wikipedia! Your site has truly helped to develop his sense of our world! Professionally I am the Director of an agency serving children and adults with autism. Having done so well with my own brother, I insist people who work with our autistic participants use Wikipedia as often as possible. What a fantastic way to teach, illustrate and enlighten individuals with and without handicaps! Thank you Wikipedia!


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