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 ...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Big Changes, part 3 -- buying XO latops without OLPC

I have started purchasing XO laptops with existing Laptops to Lesotho funds. eBay actually had 16 (!) for sale yesterday. I purchased 4 and have the highest bid, so far, on 9 more. As more of the laptops come up for sale, I'll keep buying them. Hopefully, I'll accumulate several dozen to take to Ketane later this year.

When I purchase the next few XOs, I will have one shipped to Andrew so he can use it in his fundraising efforts. I will also ship one to Shaun for temporary use so he can become familiar with its specs and OS and suggest the best network server etc. If Lineo ever gets in touch, I will consider sending her one for the same reason. If anybody else on the team wants to borrow one, please let me know.

-- Janissa

Big Changes, part 2 -- moving ahead with OLPC

I contacted OLPC by email on 29 January 2010 to see if they might make an exception for our project and give us a grant based on:
  • the size, dedication, and diversity of skills of our team,

  • the amount of pre-planning, preparation, and fundraising we've already done,

  • the existence of the computer school and solar power already in Ketane, and

  • the support and enthusiasm of the students, teachers, and the community.
They saw it will take about a week or so to get a reply because they are so busy with inquiries and applications. If I haven't heard anything by Monday, 8 Febrary, I will send an additional inquiry. I'm going to keep pestering them so they know we are serious and intend to succeed with or without their help.

Depending on the response we get, I will next ask OLPC if 1-2 members of our team can attend the OLPC training even though we aren't grant recipients. We will, of course, have to find our own funding to do this, but I think this training is of critical importance.

-- Janissa

Big Changes -- OLPC grant program changed

On January 27, 2010, we got notice from OLPC that the 2010 application period was open and that they had made dramatic changes to who, when and where the grants would be awarded. They restricted the eligible countries to just a handful that already have existing OLPC programs. Unfortunately, that excluded Lesotho and means our project is no longer eligible to receive an OLPCorps grant and the XO laptops that come with it.

This is a huge disappointment, but we have a strong dedicated team, and I know we will succeed, though it may take us a bit longer than hoped to accomplish our goals.

The people most directly and immediately affected by the change are Sarah and Amy. Without the OLPCorps grant, there is little chance they will be able to travel to Lesotho and help with the deployment this year. Hopefully, they will continue to stay involved and may be able to travel to Ketane to help out in 2011.

-- Janissa