OLPC UNRWA Gaza : After a long wait Rafah adopts the XO

Also in Arabic: في اللغة العربية

Students with their laptops, after putting their names on them.

After a 10-month wait for approvals, the UNRWA OLPC core team, administrators, parents and children of Rafah took part in a brilliant beginning to the UNRWA OLPC program in Gaza, with a celebration event on April 29th. I was fortunate to spend the days beforehand with this team and their community. They worked tirelessly – children, parents, teachers, developers, and administrators – and it was inspiring to work with them.

The Palestinian people have the optimism, resourcefulness, and dedication to turn a speck of dust into a garden. Not just any garden, but one that the entire community shares.

And the XO has a special feature beyond its tech specs and activities – it can energize a community to have hope for their children.  One member of the core team, Jamil, remarked;  “This is XO is a humble machine, we can take it and do great things with it.

They did.

In a mere 12 weeks after their first intro to the XO, the Gaza core and community team:
– prepared infrastructure
– designed and gave workshops for 200 teachers and 12 administrators
– introduced the XO to 2000+ students
– helped these children introduce the XO to their parents
– created a digital library
– ported their own ILP learning games to run on the XO
– integrated Memorize, Chat, Browse, & Speak into classroom activities
– helped teachers begin distributing homework via the XO
– witnessed initially skeptical parents begin to advocate at shops and mosques for XOs for all the children of Gaza

The celebration began with Fathi, the UNRWA Learning Resource center lead in Rafah, sharing a Chinese proverb: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

The day was saturated with XO laptops and images. It began with a stage designed to look like an open XO, with the keyboard extending out in front — and ended with everyone sharing an astonishing giant cake in the shape of an XO, precise down to the frosted stippling that carefully reproduced the pattern of dots on its outer shell. Someone in the crowd remarked with a resilient joke: “I wonder when we got that through the tunnels?”

6 thoughts on “OLPC UNRWA Gaza : After a long wait Rafah adopts the XO

  1. Yesterday and today I managed to speak for 3 minutes with the person at the EU Commission responsible for the Syrian crises and his team dealing with education. I hope in the near future they’ll invite us to see if the XO – PV solution can have a place in their strategy. skype SvenAERTS

  2. What a fantastic way to get information to young kids.

    I am an Australian just researching this now and I have been inspired by this story.

    Thank you for sharing these wonderful breakthroughs in modern learning.

    Matthew Sforcina

  3. Pingback: OLPC UNRWA Gaza (Arabic) | One Laptop per Child

  4. I intend to make a personal visit to Gaza during the second half of July 2010, crossing from Egypt at Rafah. Does anyone have any recent (July 2010) experience of crossing at Rafah, as a non-arab (British in my case). What documentation – in addition to passport – might be useful. I assume that the Egyptian authorities want to be sure that I would not be a burden or other form of problem for them so perhaps they will require evidence of medical insurance as well as evidence that I have somewhere to go in Gaza (an Invitation). Perhaps they might set some time limit (one week?) on the visit?
    I am determined to go to Rafah but it would be a pity to be turned away so any advice anyone can give me would be appreciated.
    PS. Does anyone have an e-mail address for UNWRA in Gaza?

  5. Thank you very much for you donate to the children of Gaza,and We will work in Gaza to activating education through the use of xo laptop.

    Iyad M. EL Najjar
    Member of the Core Team in UNRWA

  6. Many thanks for olpc company for their efforts towards our children anf full respect to all of you ,especially Barbara and Robein , from the Core Team.
    See You
    Raed Adwan
    Lower elem supervisor

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