Nancie Severs and her trip to Vung Vieng Village

Imagine you are sitting on your comfy couch watching TV. You decide to tune in to 60 Minutes. They are talking about a nonprofit organization that is bringing a low-cost laptop to children in developing countries. You think that is a great idea and decide to learn more.

Fast forward two years, and you are in the middle of a floating fishing village in Ha Long Bay in Northeast Vietnam. You have started a project to bring a number of these laptops to the only school in the village. While there you are tackling a variety of speed bumps that arise. These range from easy to extremely challenging. As the days pass, you can see the joy in the children and adults of the village. You realize that you have made a difference and changed their lives. You have changed their world for the better.

This is the story Nancie Severs of New Hampshire relayed when she presented at OLPC’s Cambridge headquarters.  Hearing Nancie speak is inspiring. She has heart and energy. Last year she visited the Vung Vieng Floating Fishing Village with her husband Mark. She thought of OLPC and realized  she could bring the XO to this village with a plan. She says if the XO laptops work out here “in the middle of the sea” where learning resources are limited, books are destroyed by the salty air, and newspapers blow away or get wet, then she will be convinced that it can work almost anywhere.

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OLPC in Vietnam: Vung Vieng village and

A students in Vietnam

A student in Vietnam

I recently attended a presentation given by Nancie Severs, one of our dedicated volunteers. She had just returned from Vietnam where she donated her time to a school in small floating fishing village.  She published a partial account of her experiences organizing a small team to bring one laptop per child to Vung Vieng village.  Read how she overcame environmental, cultural and energy challenges to pilot the first deployment ever to this area of the world on the Vung Vieng wiki page.

Meanwhile, long-time OLPC volunteer and crack developer Mario Behling has started exploring larger-scale projects in Vietnam, and set up a lovely website ( about the projects there and blogs about them, including Marina’s work in Saigon.