Blogwatch

December 11, 2008
Rwanda aims for one laptop per child

Low-cost laptops have now reached children in 31 developing nations, including Rwanda.

The One Laptop Per Child program (OLPC) launched in Rwanda in October with the aim of providing computer access to the country’s 2.3 million schoolchildren. President Paul Kagame has supported the program and efforts to expand schooling and educational resources in the country.

Worldfocus correspondent Martin Seemungal travels to Rwamagana, Rwanda — once a site of the country’s 1994 genocide, now the site of technological transformation.

Below, read what bloggers are saying about the laptop initiative from Rwanda to Peru.

Blogger “Brian,” an OLPC intern, posts his account of bringing laptops to children in Kigali, Rwanda.

Blogger “DSD” — another OLPC intern — writes from Ethiopia, describing how the laptops excite children in the country’s bare schools.

From Peru, blogger “Ivan Krstić” returns to the town of Arahuay one year after OLPC brought laptops to children there, writing that despite his skepticism, the program has brought about real change.

However, some bloggers express continued doubts about the OLPC program’s effectiveness.

The “Hyper Edge” blog argues that money could be better spent on food and infrastructure projects.

The “Thoughts on Freedom” blog writes from Australia that the program is flawed, as it does not take into account long-term maintenance costs and more pressing needs in rural communities.

The price of the so-called “$100 laptop” has in fact grown to over $188 in past years, though OLPC plans to introduce a newly-designed laptop at a cheaper price by 2010.

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Comments

21 comments

#21

Why isn’t the olpc - rwanda url mentioned more clearly: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_Rwanda
… bad Journalism?

#20

[...] had a pilot project in Rwanda and Worldfocus reported on the [...]

#19

[...] is a great video about the pilot in Rwamagana, Rwanda by Worldfocus correspondent Martin [...]

#18

Yes, OLPC groups are working in Jamaica:
http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_Jamaica

and at least 31 other countries around the world, including the U.S. (and more on the way):
http://www.flickr.com/photos/olpc/sets

You need to understand that there are XO laptops in more countries than there are OLPC employees, this is heavily driven by volunteer grassroots. If you want this program to start somewhere, it will take your involvement to make it happen.

http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Participate

#17

God Bless Mr Negroponte and the President/General who could very easly had followed the same path he overthrew. However he dicided to implement his vision towards a positive and rewarding direction for Rawandens. Let us pray that evil will not prevail once again, when it realizes that lap top per child will be a powerful tool for a strong and bright democratic future of Rawanda and all the benefits that come with it. I was blessed with this story and had my to kids watch it again so that they would not take for granted all that they have here in the USA. I will be supportive of this effort.

#16

About a year ago I donated one of these computers, recognizing that the best way for the US to be secure and prosperous in the long term is to live in a world where children can get education and meaningful life skills relevant to the global economy and the 21st century. Most radical organizations recruit their terrorists from disaffected, disconnected, uneducated youth with no stake in the modern world. However crummy the worst of our public schools may be in the US, our children are REQUIRED by law to attend free public schools. They can go to a public library and use a computer. In much of the 3rd world, schools are not free, and children face an uphill battle to acquire the basic skills of literacy and get an education, especially in the rural areas. Parents who earn $5 a week or less struggle to afford mandatory school uniforms and supplies. Without the donations of people in the industrialized world to help educate the next generation, the world will be a more dangerous and unhappy place. I recommend the book, The Bottom Billion, which explains the poverty traps of the poorest nations. It’s a real eye opener and explains why just helping close to home is not enough. I am thrilled to see the faces of these children, whose lives have been so changed for the better by a humble gift - a gift put by donors into their hands - much more direct than foreign aid to governments which may embezzle it.
from Orange County California USA

#15

I heard the story on the little girl Shams how her father remarried and his new wife want even take care of her, I live in the USA , and I have no children and would love to take care of her. How sad is it that he married someone who would not give her love.
San Diego, California USA

#14

I remember when this first came out about the One Lap Top Per Child, and I thought what a great idea for these children. I am so happy to hear the great news and how well they are doing and the parents are doing well also.
I am laid off and lost my job 2 yrs ago but once I get a job and back on my feet, I would like to a lap top for 5 children and as I get better, I will try to buy one lap top per month if I can.
I am from San Diego and if everyone commits to this, they will have therei 2.5 million lap tops for the kids.
God Bless the Founder
From San Diego, California USA

#13

we at MM Telcom (new York) are involved in a project to provide satellite connectivity to schools in Africa. we are donating 10 computers per school. we are wondering if there are readers out there who would like to boost the numbers…

#12

Mistake correction: please read in the previous message: Nicholas Negroponte and not Delaponte.
I hope you forgive me :-)

#11

I had seen Charli Rose interview of Nicholas Delaponte where I was first introduced to this wonderful program. It is a 20 year goal…
To answer some of the questions:
-They have chosen the 50 poorest countries.
-the laptop are very sturdy and so simple that a 12 year old will be shown how to do the most simple repairs. They even are encouraged to open and look inside the computer when they get it.
-Amazon.com facilitate the “give one, get one” program, or just buy one, or just give one away.
-I wanted to give one away and from my experience, found that the easiest was to go directly to their site: http://www.OLPC.com
Children are the future of our society wherever in the world

#10

I congratulate this effort. Is there any way this organization could assist the students on the island of Jamaica? Please tell me what part can I play to do so. I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face when I saw the news segment and the faces of the children. They are so motivated to learn and excel.

#9

Hi Katie,
Thank you for answering my question! am very pleased to see that the United States is at least ‘on the map’ so to speak. I hope that over time this organization will focus on helping the children I see every day here in inner city schools and other impoverished areas in the US.

#8

Hi John,

You can see a map of OLPC locations here:

http://laptop.org/en/children/countries/index.shtml

They have a program in Alabama and judging by some recent news, the laptops may pop up in some other states:

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/20081211_Chester_charter_manager_donates_laptops_to_school.html

Hope this helps.

Thanks,

Katie
Worldfocus.org

#7

This is a wonderful story. Very inspiring!

#6

Does One Laptop Per Child provide ANY laptops to children here in the United States? I would like to know.

#5

I believe the concept of this program is terrific but I am concerned as to whether the program is neglecting children right here in the United States. Although the statistically based poverty rates per child per country are vastly different, these rates do not represent the significant regions in the United States that are just as impoverished as in these other countries.
I commend all charitable efforts, however, I believe very strongly that as a country, we should focus on eradicating poverty and educational poverty here in the United States first, before we take on the rest of the world.

#4

Hi UmmieTiye and other Worldfocus viewers,

The One Laptop Per Child Web site has information about how you can help them here, if you so wish:

http://laptop.org/en/participate/give-one-get-one.shtml

For example, you can buy a laptop for a child in a developing country or help them with fundraising.

Hope that helps. Thanks for watching!

Katie
Worldfocus.org team

#3

How can I help? The program is wonderful! I wonder though who will fix the computers when they break and undoubtedly they will sooner or later.

#2

Please give me information on how I can help Shams–12/11/08.

#1

This is a wonderful story! BUT, are girls included?

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