OLPC is making great strides into Sri Lanka, as reported recently in the Sri Lanka Daily News. The small island country, just off the southeast tip of India, is looking to turn a corner after years of internal strife, exacerbated by the devastation of the Tsunami in 2004. It is with great pride and anticipation that OLPC is able to join the Education Ministry and University of Colombo in their goals to provide the nation’s younger generation with skills in Information Technology and the English language.
These complimentary aims, reported by the paper as a motivation for the program that will bring 1,250 new laptops to students in thirteen separate schools, have been widely cited as twin engines propelling innovation and progress in Bangalore, not far across the Palk Straight.
In addition to the operating system in English, the computers are enabled to operate in either Sinhala or Tamil languages. Please check in (or, better yet, leave word) for progress updates coming out of Sri Lanka. We’re very excited about this new venture and can’t wait to hear back.
This is the second year that OLPC has had a booth at the annual soccer tournament hosted by the Ethiopian Sports Federation in North America (ESFNA). This is one of the big events of the region’s Ethiopian diaspora each year, and we have been working together to bring laptops to children in Ethiopia as we strive to focus attention on children’s education.
This year the OLPC booth drew a lot of children to the booth, and provided a very different kind of activity for children who were present at the stadium! We had non-stop traffic from 2:00pm – 9:00pm every day of the tournament.
Three children who came on the first day, ended up volunteering for the duration of the tournament giving demos, and showing others how the XO works. The XO machines setup at the booth drew children to the booth, and many people came up and asked on how they could get one for their child or get involved with OLPC-Ethiopia.
We hope you share our excitement for what the future holds for Ethiopian children and join our efforts in putting laptops in the hands of more children in Ethiopia.
If you have any questions, or would like to join the OLPC Ethiopia community, please email us at Ethio@laptop.org .
When Matt Keller was in Ethiopia recently while travelling through East Africa, he met a young student who was making phone calls between a pair of XOs. Here he is preparing one of the laptops:
This is both simpler and more homegrown than the work Stephen Thorne and Pia did In Australia last winter, where a school ran regular Video Chat sessions with students on a small island who were using their XOs for the first time.
If you’ve had your own telephony and videoconferencing experiences, please share them (better yet, post videos:).
Photo by Terry O'Sullivan, Creative Commons: Non-commercial, Share-alike
Flickr User Terry O’Sullivan came across this child near Arat Kilo, Ethiopia: “and I was pleasantly surprised to see some of them carrying these OLPC laptops, so I stopped to ask them about it.”
See more of Terry’s photos