Also in Arabic: في اللغة العربية
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.”
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?”