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 ...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Getting Lesotho Textbooks

Aaron has promised to check on getting us some Lesotho 6th grade school textbooks so we can start incorporating the curriculum into the laptop training plans. He's going to the school today and will see if the school has any extras which he can mail to us. If not, hopefully he'll be able to find some in Maseru when he goes there in a week or so.

Thanks for looking into this, Aaron!

- Janissa

Number of XO laptops - readjusted

The last time I gave you a count of the number of XO laptops I had acquired, I said we were up to 64. That was counting 11 I had ordered but had not received yet. Unfortunately, the order for the 11 XO laptops fell through, so we are back down to 53. We have enough for all the 6th grade students and teachers, but we still need to get more for the other grades to share.

I'll keep looking for good deals and buying more XOs as I can.

- Janissa

Friday, May 14, 2010

Contest: Write a Google Ad for Laptops to Lesotho

Here's the challenge: Write the best ever Goggle ad for Laptops to Lesotho, something that will make people want to click on the ad and see what we're all about.

Here's the catch: Google has very tight space restrictions, with a limited number of characters per line, including spaces and punctuation.
Title: 25 characters
Text Line 1: 35 characters
Text Line 2: 35 characters

Here's my feeble attempt:
Help African Children
Give hope to Lesotho children thru
better educational opportunities
This ad has gotten people to click on it 28 times out of 15,269 views. Can you do better?

Are you up for a challenge? Sharpen your pencils and give it your best shot. Submit entries as Comments to this message, and if they are approved, we'll post them on Google. The winner will be the one who gets the best percentage of clicks per view.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Discounted Accounting Software and Grant-writing Service via

We purchased the accounting software, QuickBooks Premier Edition 2010, which includes the Nonprofit Edition, via It was donated by Intuit, the company that created QuickBooks, so that we were able to get it for just $45. The going rate on the open market is around $315. Thank you, Intuit! Now Andrew gets to learn how to use it.

We were also able to buy a one-year membership to, normally $599, for just $99. GrantStation is a funding research and grant-writing assistance service. I'm hoping I can use it to find funding for this year if the grant applications we have out now don't get funded, and for next year so we can buy lots more computers, work on the curriculum integration for other grade levels, and do interface translation into Sesotho, among other things. Thanks, GrantStation, for providing this service at a price we can actually afford!

- Janissa

Taking Donations on and Facebook Causes

As of 4 May 2010, we are set up to take donations on and on Facebook Causes. We have links to these donation collection sites on our home page and on this blog.

- Janissa

Status of FOL Funding Request

On May 8th, the Friends of Lesotho Donations Committee said they would be reviewing our funding application sometime this week. If approved by the Committee, it will go to the FOL Board for review at their next meeting, which should be the third Sunday of this month.

- Janissa

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Google gave us $100 of free advertising!

Google has given us $100 worth of free advertising. What this means is that anytime someone does a search on Google using keywords that relate to our project, a link to our homepage will appear on the side under "Sponsored Links." The only time money is deducted from our $100 account balance is if someone actually clicks on the link.

The first ad I wrote read:
Help African Children
Bring hope to Lesotho children thru
better educational opportunities

Now it reads:
Help Lesotho's Children
Donate to improve their education &
open their world with kid's laptops

I'm still not happy with the wording. Unfortunately, there's a very tight word limit for each of the four lines, and the URL that is displayed has to be the same as the actual URL, i.e. I couldn't use "Laptops to Lesotho" for the last line.

In the first hour after I posted the first ad, over 4000 people saw it and 20 actually clicked on our homepage link. Once enough people click on the ad to reach our daily budget limit, the ad stops displaying until the next day. I put a limit of $2.00/day on the ad, about 20 clicks, so we don't blow through the $100 before I figure out how to best attract actual donations with the right keywords and ad text.

Go to and type in "Lesotho charity" or "laptops to lesotho" and you might see our link. (Don't click on it though ... it just takes you to our homepage.)

- Janissa

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

History of Community Support & Project Sucess

from an email from Andrew:

The school was the first of its kind in the entire area of Ketane. It is the only computer school, and it is also run by solar power.

The school, although currently very small, has already begun to improve the education of the children. The computers have helped to improve their Enlish language skills, other subject skills, and given them a great interest in pursuing learning through the computers.

The community has given strong backing to the computer school since its inception. The parents and school committee have begun to build a new building for the computer school donating there time and resources on the weekends. The parents are very excited and even had some of there children attend the school during the break months, and during harvest times when the children would normally be required to work. In addition, the school raised it's own money to purchase an old laptop computer and used money it raised from charging cell phones with the solar panel to buy a printer/copier/scanner.

Various members of the community of Pueblo, Colorado, held fundraisers and donated to the computer school so that the solar equipment and desktop computer could be purchased.

excerpt from an email from Andrew to Janissa about his recent talk with Matlabe

"I finally made it through and talked with Ntate Matlabe today. They have been having a lot of rain, and didn't have signal which is why I couldn't get through. Also, he said the internet at the clinic is out so Mapesh hasn't emailed. Anyway, he was of course very excited about the prospect of coming to the United States. He said he is trying to learn as much as he can" ... "He said he will even take a full course in Maseru in June so that he can learn internet and all that."

"Also he said that they are trying to get a PCV that would come in August."

"[Matlabe and Mapesh] are going to talk about the pros and cons of each person going. I also told them about the laptops that you have for them, and just the other general news. They did say that the computers are all still running and working well."

We are Listed on

It took a few weeks, but we have finally made it into the online database of, the website that lists verified nonprofit organizations. It's a great website for people searching for information about nonprofits, and helps connect nonprofits with donors and funding organizations.

Now that we are on, I can go ahead and get us listed on websites where people can donate to our project, including Facebook Causes and

A huge step forward! Now, spread the word to all your friends, family, co-workers, and anybody you know. We are open for business, and it's time to start donating.

- Janissa

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Our Treasure Highland Computer Project Logo

Laptops to Lesotho Logo

I realize that I have been remiss in adding our logo to this site. A while ago, I posted the logo for the Our Treasure Highland Computer Project that one of the Nohana Primary School students designed, but I never posted the Laptops to Lesotho logo.

I had created a variety of sample logos, but everybody who commented liked the clean simplicity of this one.

It says a lot in one simple symbol -- green color for the XO laptop green, the computer key, a rondavel as home representing the "home" key, and the open white door representing the hope in our slogan "Opening doors to hope with keys to the world."

I've been trying to incorporate the logo in the header for this blog, but haven't figured out how to use the blogger wizard to do that, yet.

- Janissa

Disappointment - No Shipping by Peace Corps via Diplomatic Pouch

I got some disappointing news today from Deepak. The law prohibits the use of the diplomatic pouch to import goods into Lesotho, so we won't be able to get the computers over to Lesotho that way.

We'll have to go back to Plan B and ship them via USPS or DHL, which means I have to find funding for that too.

Another option for getting a few of the laptops to Maseru would be to ask people who are traveling over to carry one or two with them on the plane. We might be able to find PC trainees in the June 2010 CHED group, PC/L staff, and/or Friends of Lesotho associates who are willing and able to help.

We'll get them there one way or another.

- Janissa

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Our Website Redesigned

Sarah has redesigned our website with a new, classier look.

Click here to check it out >>> Laptops to Lesotho