Several schools and similar places where kids have access to a computer, don't have an internet connection, and they don't have the budget to purchase electronic encyclopaedias either, hence the kids lose out on a wealth of knowledge when in reality they are the ones who need it the most. The Wikipedia for School edition was created to bridge this gap, and give any computer with around 2.5GBs of disk space, an encyclopaedia - a wealth of knowledge that can empower any child.


  1. Wikipedia have done their part in creating an amazing encyclopedia.
  2. SOS Children’s Village have done their part in hand-picking the best articles for school children and creating the Wikipedia For Schools.
  3. have done their bit in compiling all of it into a .ZIM archive that we can use without the decompression hassles of some other offline website readers. And they even made a pre-indexed ready-to-DVD version that we can just copy and run anywhere.
  4. Several organizations all over the world are doing their part in getting computers to low-resource schools where kids from lower economic backgrounds can get a chance to use them.
  5. And now it’s OUR turn.

As citizens of the world who have access to this resource, we now have the responsibility to empower as many of these kids as possible. Your goal is to take the offline version of Wikipedia for Schools, and go and install it in each and every computer that doesn't have an internet connection. And this page is to serve as a collaboration point for this grassroots movement.


If you have any pictures pertaining to WFSOE, please add them here!

Download it[]

Let's collect all possible methods of downloading WFSOE here.

  1. Pre-indexed version of WFSOE directly bundled with the Kiwix software, an installer for Windows, autorun and DVD launcher, hosted on : (2718mb direct download) (not for slow connections) I get ffdc64cc5d47809d26d178e9adbeef0e md5sum. Older Winrar do not open it, but 7za.exe 7zip no prob
  2. For slower/intermittent connections: Re-packaged version of the same as above, compressed in .7z format, split into 27 x 100mb parts that are easier and more stable to download for relatively slower or interruptible connections :
  3. Same package as above, sans the schools-wikipedia-full-20081023-rc5.zim file. (Those who already have the ZIM file, can conveniently download this and put the ZIM file in it to get a fully working pre-indexed auto-running version of WFSOE: (107mb)
  4. Mirror site on 4shared, with Kiwix software separate (basic form, no pre-indexing), schools-wikipedia-full-20081023-rc5.zim file split into 100mb parts (27 nos) so it's easier to download, and the 2 mentioned above. set up by Nikhilsheth 06:15, January 20, 2011 (UTC)
  5. Official press release linking to torrent of a .tar.gz file. Still to determine whether it is pre-indexed or required decompressing. (Edit here if you know)

Brief Description[]

Size 2.8 GB
Platform : Windows / Linux (Native viewer for Linux available; can also run the Windows executable using Wine) / Apple (see site for full info)
Cost: Zero, it's for free distribution.
Can autorun from USB / DVD : Yes
Can install : Yes
Time required per installation/copy per computer : ~10 minutes
Can copy and run: Yes
Needs internet connection : No
Is it the original Wikipedia for Schools? : No, this is repackaged version released by Kiwix developers to make it more compact and portable.
Software : Kiwix, offline reader of openZIM format (.ZIM) files. (Open source)
Primary Content : File: schools-wikipedia-full-20081023-rc5.zim (2.6 GB)
Articles dated: 2008/09
Search functionality : Yes, full text search engine inbuilt
Indexing for search : Pre-indexed, no need to index again on client computer
Tried successfully on OS's: Win7, WinXP, Ubuntu, Jolicloud (last 2 using Wine)
Can articles be exported : Yes, as HTML, Text, PDF, to clipboard or to print
Additional drivers needed: Windows XP & older may require for enabling search, Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 redistributable, installer file "vcredist_x86.exe" (1MB) included in package.
Unofficial Website: - Wiki page set up to distribute and co-ordinate.
Official website: - includes full content of encyclopedia

Help and Tips[]

Need help? Want to share some tips? This is the place.

Do You have it? aka the WFSOE Champions[]

Enter your location (city / area) and any way in which a fellow volunteer can contact you to take a copy or invite you to a school they know. Put your contact number / email / twitter / facebook url / wikia username / anything by which you can be contacted within a reasonable amount of time. We will split this by country:


  1. Nikhil Sheth - Pune, India - Phone: +91-9665831250, Email: nikhil.js(at), Twitter, Facebook, Website - can take copy on USB drive from me (~2.6GB) or bring blank DVD. Nikhilsheth 06:15, January 20, 2011 (UTC)
  2. Ankit Daftery - Mumbai, India - Email : ankitdaf(at)gmail(dot)com, - can take copy on USB drive from me (~2.6GB) or bring blank DVD.
  3. Ashish Chowdhary - Ahmedabad, India. Email: ashchow1986(at), - can take copy on USB (~3.5 GB). English, Hindi, Gujarati and Marathi versions.

Empowered Schools / other[]

List the schools (with address, any contact / link) where this project has been implemented, with date/month of implementation and who implemented it. (Also mention if there are any issues or if it's a work in progress). This too shall be split by country. If it's other than schools - like a library or ashram or a society with computers in houses, enlist them here as well. But avoid single personal computer entries.


  1. Shantabai Ladkat English Medium School, Nanapeth, Pune, India - December 2010 - Teach For India volunteer initiative. Update: Fully installed on all 13 working computers and in office. Nikhilsheth 06:15, January 20, 2011 (UTC)
  2. Utkarsh English medium school, near Pulgate bus stand, Camp, Pune. Fully installed on 16+ computers in their computer lab. A Teach for India volunteer initiative. Nikhilsheth 02:42, February 16, 2011 (UTC)
    • Update: Problem with viruses, currently on hold.
  3. ZP school at Khalapur near Raigad. Installed on one computer (more pending), along with english, hindi and marathi wikipedia dumps, trained teachers on using, burnt and gave DVDs for spreading (contact Mr.Sandeep, +919766591898). In collaboration with Digital Bridge Foundation and Gnowledge Labs. The latter will work on creating Ubuntu distro with WFSOE pre-installed. Nikhilsheth 10:57, February 23, 2011 (UTC)

South Africa[]

  1. Thalana School, Sibongile, South Africa - March 2011 Jfield 17:31, April 10, 2011 (UTC)
  2. Maceba School, Hlathi-Ngudulwane, South Africa - March 2011 Jfield 17:31, April 10, 2011 (UTC)


  1. Ellisbridge School No. 2. Installed in 2 computers and given away the DVD for more installations.

Global Map[]

Created by Jessie Wild from Wikimedia: Wikipedia Offline Distribution (designation: Special Projects Manager, Global Development, Wikimedia Foundation)

Common Issues[]

Enlist any issues you have faced here, and suggest a solution to any issue if you know it.

  1. Viruses : Many of the computers in these schools have viruses that spread through usb drives. So there is a risk of getting your own drive infected. But most of these viruses are spreading-only, non-destructive and are worms (.exe files) that need to be run to activate. It is advised to use a usb drive that has a read-only switch, or just have a robust anti-virus on your own system and exercise caution. Nikhilsheth 06:15, January 20, 2011 (UTC) solution: Though there are some risks, I've had very good luck with "Microsoft Security Essentials" which is free, seems to clean systems well, and doesn't require an internet connection. You also need to download the latest virus definition file , but in my experience it will protect the computer quite well for a year without further updates. Note that in severe infections, installing any virus software can destroy the system, but I would say that happens to me less than 1 in 10 times. Jfield 15:37, March 9, 2011 (UTC)
  2. Not working / Not indexing on older computers : solution: Go to the folder where kiwix.exe is located, open the "install" folder there and run "vcredist_x86.exe" to install the necessary drivers. Click the link to download this file form Spl thanks to Emmanuel from for sharing this! Nikhilsheth 09:52, January 21, 2011 (UTC) additional note: to fix this problem I have found that I must install vcredist_x86.exe before installing kiwix - or I have to re-install kiwix afterwards. So I always start with the vcredist_x86.exe install Jfield 14:13, March 19, 2011 (UTC)
  3. It seems that a couple pages are getting cut off. Examples: the Title Page upon opening Kiwix ends with "You can download a copy of this web site, see:". On the Subject Index page, the second to last box says "Religion" but the last box with the dinosaur does not say "Science". There is no footer on either page. I have yet to confirm any articles with this issue. I have checked the md5 of the Kiwix package and the ZIM files. A minor issue but any suggestions are welcome. This is on WinXP SP3. Jfield 17:30, April 10, 2011 (UTC)

Taking it Forward[]

Enlist ideas here, and mention if implemented, to take this movement forward - like a tie-up with a DVD distributor or an NGO, for example. If you can help, Edit this section, enter a line below the point and mention your contact. Try to indent that line

  1. Spread the Word : Share this short address with anyone and everyone:
  2. Educational Insitutions : A student from a college can download/copy and put the encyclopedia on the institute's LAN and proliferate it to everybody on the campus. Then groups of students can be formed to go to under-resourced schools in nearby areas and install it there. It's a win-win for everyone - as it can become a project undertaken by the college and get good publicity.
    1. If interested, insert your contact here.
  3. Corporates : Same as above, and can fund the creation of DVD's
    1. If interested, insert your contact here.
  4. Kiosks : Public places like museums can install this in one of their computers and allow kids to use it. Also it would be great if they allowed people to take copies with them - on usb drive.
    • If interested, insert your contact here.
  5. Grey DVD market : If we can make enough of a buzz, the grey market can download this on their own, mass-produce and distribute the DVDs far and wide for very cheap, the same way they sell pirated movie DVDs. We can tie up with one such operator and then it'll spread by itself. Even they'll be happy to be doing something legit for a change.
    • If interested, insert your contact here.
  6. Mobile libraries : They can be equipped with a netbook running this project. The van then goes to different spots in the city and there kids can come and browse the encyclopedia, plus next week they can come with their usb drives to copy it. The mobile libary owners can benefit by charging for browsing / copying.
    • If interested, insert your contact here.
  7. Vendor tie-up : A computer vendor / assembler can commit to sell computers/laptops pre-installed with this encyclopedia, just like they pre-install OS's and other softwares anyways. They can market this as "pre-installed with Wikipedia for Schools" to get a competitive edge.
    • If interested, insert your contact here.
  8. Goverment tie-up : Get a governing agency to send out the DVD to all schools in its purview.
    • If interested, insert your contact here.
  9. Wikipedia for Schools - Indian Version : The current version being culturally centric to the United Kingdom and to an extent, North America, a sister project is developing an Indian version of this encyclopedia. The project basically consists of deep selecting an appropriate set of articles relevent to the Indian context. Read more about it here :
    • Registration on is required to edit the pages of this venture. This project is being coordinated by Ashwin Baindur ( aka User:AshLin on English Wikipedia).
  10. Enter here

Committed Organizations[]

Calling on non-profits, companies, schools, educational institutions and any organization with a heart and a vision for the future: Please adopt this cause! List your organization here if you pledge to take this project forward and implement it in your area of operation. (Please provide contact details of a representative or a web link so that your participation is independently verifiable, and area of operation where you can help)

  • Name of organization
  • Digital Bridge Foundation,website, Anchor Person -Rekha Sankhala, Phone No 09920402005,E-mail rekha.sankhala (at) gmail (dot) com
  • Endumeni Learning Machines - a small group working in KZN South Africa. I have blogged about our work at I haven't blogged about installing WFSOE yet as it was just recommended to me a few weeks ago. So far reaction has been very positive! Jfield 19:50, March 9, 2011 (UTC)
  • PCs4KIDS' Education, website We included Wikipedia for Schools in our comprehensive digital educational package for kids aged 4-18 which we intend to distribute massively starting 2019.

News Coverage[]

Places where this initiative has been reported

See also[]

Links, References[]