Picture life without a computer: How would you research material for a paper? How would you satisfy your curiosity about everything from the solar system to the latest designs from Fashion Week? And what’s more—if you’d never used a computer as a child, how proficient would you be today? It’s hard to imagine life without a laptop at our fingers—and yet that’s exactly what many youth in developing nations are forced to experience.
Fortunately, One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) wants to do something about it. They’ve created the “XO” laptop—a workhorse of a computer that’s durable, portable, power efficient and fully equipped with wireless capability. The mission is for a child to take ownership of one of these kid-friendly laptops, use it to meet educational goals and also learn to care of their very own piece of technology. The laptops are set up with software especially designed to meet children’s educational needs, empowering them to engage with not only school, but each other as well.
So how do these laptops reach their new owners? The laptops are sold to the governments of developing nations and issued to schools. Then it’s just as the name suggests—one laptop per child. OLPC began distributing the laptops in 2007 to every corner of the globe; by 2011, over 2 million laptops had found a home. From Madagascar to Peru, children are using their laptops to reach their goals and take charge of their educations.
So how can you help?
Volunteer. There are local and regional volunteer opportunities scattered around the country, so be sure to check out OLPC’s “volunteer” page. Just enter your location to see what volunteer opportunities exist in your area.
Intern! Combine your passion for OLPC with some professional development. You’ll gain meaningful experience and contribute to their mission. Click here for more info on the internship program, which is based out of Miami, FL.
Create an Event. Attention, extroverts! If you’re interested in spreading the OLPC word and finding other like-minded helpers, take the initiative and plan an event. You could also simply join an existing event and take some of OLPC’s promotional materials so you can educate others about this important initiative.
Be the Tech Support. Don’t all computer users need a little tech support from time to time? Users of the XO are no exception. You can help out by volunteering to answer questions online or over the phone. You needn’t be a tech whiz, but do check their information on what’s required for this special role.
Want to hear and see more about the philosophy behind One Laptop per Child? Check out this video:
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