Providing Lesotho's Children with Keys to the World

This is the story of our efforts to end the vicious cycle of poverty, disease, inadequate education, and early death
in a remote rural community in Lesotho, Africa, by providing quality education and life skills
to the young children there. Join us on our journey ...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

64 XO laptops and counting ...

I've just bought 11 more XOs, these for the amazingly low price of $57 each, with free shipping! That brings us up to a grand total of 64.

That gives us:
35 - one for each grade 6 student
10 - one for each teacher
15 - for shared use by the other grades(2-4 students sharing one XO laptop at a time)
2 - for Shaun (I.T. use, fundraising)
1 - for Andrew (fundraising)
1 - for Janissa (fundraising)

Nineteen have been paid for with donations. Now I just need to find money to pay for the rest.

- Janissa

Monday, April 26, 2010

Check Out Our YouTube Videos

Videos from Andrew:

A Nohana Primary School student tells how our laptops will help her become a teacher

A Nohana Primary School student tells of her ambition to be a nurse, and says "Thank You."

Donated XO Laptop Received

We just received an XO laptop donated by Mary Woods of New Jersey. Thanks Mary!!!


We need to switch our home page web host

With Sarah graduating soon, we're going to lose our access to the University of Evansville website we are now using as our home page

Sarah will be checking with the university to see if they will allow us to keep the webpage for a couple months until we can switch over to a different web host. Also, she will check on whether the university will provide an automatic re-direct to our new url, once we have it set up.

In the meantime, we need to consider our options. One feature we definitely want is to be able to post multiple pdf's so we can provide access to all our public organization documents.

It looks like WebHostingPad might be a good choice. It gets high marks in several 'top ten' lists and it only costs about $2 per month.

* Winner of 2010 Budget Hosting Award
* WebHostingPad home page

For more information on choosing a web host:
*'s How Do I Choose a Host?
*'s Learning Center

Top 10 Budget Web Hosts, for under $10:
*' Top 10 List
*'s Top 10 List

Comments and suggestions always appreciated!

- Janissa

Saturday, April 24, 2010

IRS Yearly Reporting Form 990-N ... EASY!

Forms, forms, and more forms ... It's amazing how much paperwork is involved in organizing and running a nonprofit organization! I just filed our yearly IRS form for 2009, required even though we technically only existed for 10 days in 2009. But amazingly, especially for an IRS form, it was EASY!!! It was by far the simplest form I've ever had to fill out for the government ... basically all it asked for was our EIN # (Employer Identification Number), name, address, and then answer two yes/no questions ... that was it! And it was all done online. WOW!

And to think, after the nightmare of filling out the IRS Form 1023, I was actually dreading this form.

- Janissa

Grant writing - next steps & anybody want to help?

Now that I've got the grant application for FOL under my belt, hopefully I'll be able to crank other grant applications out a little (lot) quicker. Next in my sights is Oprah's Angel Network. I've got the application requirements, so now I just need to get writing.

I have a list of a dozen or so other places to submit grant applications. The next step is to get the application requirements for each of those. Then, more research on other organizations and foundations to approach for money.

Anybody want to help with this?

- Janissa

Registration with other websites --,

Last week, I registered Laptops to Lesotho with and Both required verification that L2L was a 501(c)(3) organization, so I had to send them our IRS Letter of Determination. I got a confirmation back but it will take a few days for Laptops to Lesotho to show up on their sites. is a verified list of official tax-exempt nonprofit organizations. Other websites that accept donations for causes, like Facebook Causes and, require that our organization be on the GuideStar list before they will accept us on their websites. As soon as we get into the GuideStar database, we can start accepting donations via Facebook, JustGive, and others. gets tech hardware and software donated by a variety of companies and then distributes them to nonprofits for a small processing fee. Now that Andrew is Treasurer, he will be looking at getting accounting software from TechSoup. We can also get other hardware from them, like a network server and possibly internet access hardware.

- Janissa

L2L bank account set up

I got the bank account set up for L2L, finally. First we had to wait for our official 501(c)(3) status from the IRS, then the bank took a week to set up the account -- they had to do a special investigation because we're a new nonprofit that's going to be using the account for international payments. I have to go back into town next week to sign the papers and deposit the FIPE check. Andrew and I will be signers on the account.

- Janissa

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mapesh promoted

Mapesh has been promoted to principal at a different primary school in Ketane. Fortunately for us, one stipulation of his promotion was that he would continue to work with Our Treasure Highland Computer Project and the computer school.

Congratulations Mapesh! And we're glad you're staying with our project.

- Janissa

Web-conferencing option

We discussed using web-conferencing software to communicate in real time, which would be handy for group discussions especially discussing issues in more detail than is possible in emails. It would also be handy for planning discussions and for training. HOWEVER, we decided that the internet service in Ketane and Idaho is probably too slow to be able to use web-conferencing. Connections with Skype might be an acceptible alternative.

- Janissa

Fundraising: Friends of Lesotho funding application submitted

Today, I submitted an application for funding from Friends of Lesotho. Several of the FOL board members have expressed support for our project, so let's hope that support will translate into real money.

The FOL Donation Committee should meet tomorrow. If they like the application, they will recommend it to the full board, which meets next month.

- Janissa

Communications - Ketane internet, email & phone

Mapesh has been back in touch using the clinic internet connection. Janissa sent a new USB 3G modem to Ketane, but no word yet on whether they got it or whether it works with their existing SIM card.

Aaron and Mapesh have agreed to spend time teaching Matlabe and other teachers how to use email so we can all keep in touch better.

Andrew has been calling Ketane periodically to talk to Matlabe and Mapesh in person.

- Janissa

I.T. News - Shaun explores the XO laptops

In late March, Shaun received the two XO laptops Janissa sent him and has been playing around with them, figuring out how to reload the operating system (so all the XOs are identical when we distribute them and so we can fix some of software problems that may arise), learning how best to hook them up to the internet, and tearing them apart and putting them back together to learn how to make hardware repairs.

Go Shaun! I just hope you can explain all that to the rest of us non-I.T. types.

- Janissa

BIG NEWS: Funding from FIPE

Andrew has been working with FIPE (Foundation for International Professional Exchange). Thanks to Andrew's hard work, they have donated $1500 to put toward the purchase of XO laptops. They have also agreed to provide an exchange for one of our team members to travel to Colorado to meet American teachers and observe their classroom teaching. Andrew is still hammering out the details for the exchange.


- Janissa

BIG NEWS: We have our official 501(c)(3) nonprofit status


We received our official IRS 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status last week, so ...
  • We can now accept donations as tax-deductible contributions.

  • I can start applying for grants from foundations that require 501(c)(3) status to apply.

  • We can now register with online charity lists and donation websites.

  • We are eligible to purchase discounted merchandise from some organizations.

- Janissa

Oops! Time flies ...

I'm sorry I haven't posted anything since late February. A lot has happened in the meantime, and I've been so swamped I haven't been diligent about keeping up with the blog. Big News postings to follow ...

- Janissa