A bright future for Bura Tana Community – Kenya

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St Jude Primary School is located in Bura Tana, a ten hour drive from the Nairobi airport in Kenya. The leaders of this school are dedicated to providing the best education in the area. Children here are able to participate in various activities throughout the school day. This motivates them to learn and to work hard. These children are very excited about receiving the XO laptops in their school, thanks to Lesley Hayman Sager and friends, who have provided this wonderful opportunity to these children.

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OLPCA, through its office in KIGALI, supported the school by providing a one day training on the use of XO laptops. The children enjoyed the different activities on the XO laptop, especially the Chat activity and the Maze activity. The Chat and Maze are activities that were developed by Sugar Labs. Such activities are preloaded on the XO laptop. Ten children and three teachers attended the training. These students and teachers are now responsible to share what they learned with the rest of the school.

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In addition to the basic introduction on the use of XO laptop, the children also came to understand that the XO laptop serves as a tool to use to further the learning process. The children came to see that the laptop offers a new way to express their ideas, share these ideas with their community and the rest of the world. When asked about their experience with the XO laptop, the students were full of joy and expressed their gratitude to people who brought the XO laptops to their school.

To assure sustainability and to motivate the children to continue using the XO laptops, the school created two clubs that will be monitored and supported from Kigali, the St Jude News Line Club and the Creative Arts Club. Participants registered for these two clubs and teachers will monitor the progress of the clubs.

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This project symbolizes the ideal and hope that these young children will continue to support their community in its development through education and access to information and technology.

By Intwali Jimmy Parfait

OLPCA Rwanda

Kenyan teachers on strike, XOs and volunteers take over

In rural Eshibinga, Kenya, teacher Peter Omunga has at the Eshibinga Primary School, Kenya, been doing an amazing job sharing his experiences with Sugar and OLPC over the summer. Peter maintains the Eshibinga Digital Village blog, documenting the introduction of IT and electricity in their community. They recently received 2 XO laptops, which he has used to interest his primary students in reading, writing, math, and making videos. He has had help from Fred Juma at the nearby Bungoma pilot school and from global volunteer Sandra Thaxter.

Eshibinga is a rural part of the country that is starting to benefit from solar power centers, but that has very limited access to water, electricity, and healthcare.

The school had been keeping laptops in the principal’s office at night at first, but over the past weeks as a national teacher’s strike has emerged, the students were given the laptops to take care of, and received another two laptops from donors.

Sydney from the school’s IT Club has been writing about what it’s like to study on their own when the teachers are away:

Robert arrived carrying our usual [XO] laptops. They are normally stored at the school office. The principal had sent Robert to pick them from his office. He also had left a note for us. We opened it and read it out aloud. “Make good use of these xo laptops and take good care of them. They may be the only teachers you may see in this school until the government ends the ongoing teachers strike”

Students have been meeting at school on their own with their XOs to study computers and practice writing and videotaping their own stories (and considering what it means to share a personal journal with others). And one of their teachers has been maintaining a blog about their work this summer, and is with them at school, helping them learn despite the strike.