In his speech, the Minister of Culture and Sport said that “ One Laptop Per Child program is key project with a radical impact to eradicate the lack of a reading culture and writing in Rwanda”. Arriving at the library entrance, the first thing you notice is a very nice premise with a larger picture of Rwandan kids using OLPC laptops. That is the outside view of OLPC’s part of the library, branded by OLPC Association and opened in collaboration with the Ministry of education of Rwanda and Rotary Club Virunga.
View of the Library from the outside and OLPC logos on the windows of the outside glasses of the library.
The Rwanda Library Services Project was started by Rotary Club of Kigali – Virunga with the aim of creating the first ever public library in Rwanda. The members in recognition of ignorance as one major contributor to the horrific genocide against Tutsi in 1994, decided to come up with a project that would contribute immensely to the reconstruction of the country.
This is the place where kids will be learning basic computing skills but also enjoy a constructionist approach to learning. It will also offer Scratch and turtle art lessons, logo materials, robotics for the kids to acquire an analytic approach to problem solving. OLPC sees this as a great opportunity to share the OLPC program with the rest of the country.
Given the school servers are being installed in schools countrywide, OLPC program in Rwanda will echo the library in all OLPC schools through the eBooks they have acquired.
As this OLPC corner in Kigali library will be open for all user of Sugar learning environment, free wireless internet connection will give an opportunity for private schools students who are not privileged by the government’s deployment of OLPC laptops countrywide which targets mostly the public schools.
OLPC being a part of the first public library in Rwanda is not surprising because President Paul Kagame has been among the first believers in OLPC technology in education. Since 2009 Government of Rwanda is fully engaged in getting OLPC technology to each Rwandan child in primary education. Before the end of year 2012 they will be closing the deployment of 200 000 Laptops.
Names can be confusing at times. Take “One Laptop per Child“: should the per be capitalized? This was debated long after logos and t-shirts had been designed. OLPC has included two separate non-profits since its inception:
A 501c4 association, originally set up to execute the mission of the project (Formally: ONE LAPTOP PER CHILD ASSOCIATION, INC – no acronym, capitalization question avoided via ALL CAPS registration)
A 501c3 foundation, originally set up to receive tax-deductible donations to support the mission (Formally: OLPC Foundation or OLPCF – acronym, just to make things complicated)
At first, most OLPC work was associated with the Association (ha!) and the Foundation dealt only with fundraisers and the like. Last year, we started dividing effort between the two bodies. Our projects focused on the poorest countries, remote access, and rebuilding after disasters and conflicts, moved to the Foundation. Rodrigo Arboleda Halaby, a supporter of OLPC since its inception, was invited to lead the Association, which took more explicit responsibility for long-term support for stable deployments and work in Latin America. They set up headquarters in Miami, originally with a staff of two. Now they have a solid team, a new Board, and the first OLPC baby…
This week the Association hosted a coming out party in the South Floriday community, with a debut breakfast for supporters, featuring Samuel Dusengiyumva from the OLPC Rwanda team, who spoke about Rwanda’s plans for the future.