Monday, November 17, 2008

Give a Laptop. Get a Laptop. Change the World...


Here’s a great holiday gift that will not only delight someone you love but also change the life of a needy child. One Laptop per Child (OLPC) is launching its second Give OneGet One (G1G1) program today. Here’s how it works. You buy a specially designed XO laptop for roughly $400 and OLPC will send two: one to you and one to an underprivileged child. Or, you can send one for just $200.

The non-profit OLPC was conceived by MIT Professor Nicholas Negroponte in 2002, after seeing first-hand how connected laptops transformed the lives of children and their families in a remote Cambodian village. A seed was planted: If every child in the world had access to a computer, what potential could be unlocked? What problems could be solved? These questions led him to found OLPC and the creation of the XO: a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop designed “for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning.”

The XO is built especially for kids in remote areas and developing countries, many of whom have little or no access to education. About the size of a small textbook, it has built-in wireless and a screen that’s readable under direct sunlight for those who attend school outdoors. The laptops are durable and highly efficient, able to use solar, human, generator, wind or water power. In some cases, the laptop provides the brightest light source in a family’s home.

The laptops are marketed in large numbers directly to ministries of education, which distribute them like textbooks. Last year’s G1G1 program produced more than 150,000 XOs and allowed OLPC to give away thousands of them, in places like Ethiopia, Mongolia and Rwanda. Today there are hundreds of thousands of children using XOs every day, including over a quarter of all young students in Uruguay. Peru is distributing XOs to more than 10,000 schools.

The XO laptop is designed for kids aged six to 12. OLPC says it’s also a great gift for Western kids but cautions that it has no drive for DVDs or CDs “because kids in developing countries don’t have them.”

This year’s B1G1 program runs through Dec. 26th and is being handled through Amazon.com, which is providing their services at cost. For info: www.laptop.org. To order:

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