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 ...

Friday, August 31, 2012

Looking for Funding for a Project Evaluation

Does anybody know of a foundation or organization(s) that might be interested in funding a rigorous, in-depth quantitative evaluation of our project's short-term and long-term impacts and the project's effectiveness?  We have an interested researcher, but we need funding. 

We think it's important to evaluate our work because we are using a different approach than One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) and most other computer projects in developing nations.  (See our 13 May 2011 post for a summary of our approach.)

- Janissa

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Few Pictures - Laptops to Lesotho

children using XO laptops in classroom during teacher training
Children use XO laptops
during L2L teacher training
Child leaving school, carrying an XO laptop home after class
Child carrying XO laptop home from school
a student's friends and family, together inside a mut hut home, peer into the lens of an XO laptop
A student's family and friends caught by the XO laptop camera
scholarships winners pose for a picture holding XO laptops, with their principal and L2L project leader Matlabe Teba
Top graduates who earned scholarships
to continue schooling beyond free
primary school, holding XO laptops,
with Principal & L2L Project Leader
Matlabe Teba.
view of mountainous region where the tiny, remote village of Mafikeng clings to the mountainside
Mafikeng, Ketane, Lesotho, birthplace of L2L

Computers can bring out hidden talents in some students. The boy in the foreground struggled to accomplish tasks other students grasped quickly. But when they had to do an activity with the XO laptops forming tesselations, he soared ahead while the other students floundered. When he finished the task well ahead of the rest, he jumped up and shouted triumphantly. 
Students must earn the right to take a laptop home after school.  This is done through a structured point system that rewards good behavior, academic effort and achievement, and volunteer service.  Students who qualify are allowed to check out laptops much like a library book.

Parents say not only has the children's behavior improved, but the students have begun teaching their siblings and parents how to use the computers.  Here the student's friends and family are caught peering into the laptop camera's lens.

Proud scholarship winners holding XO laptops donated by Laptops to Lesotho.
Retsepile Nthuba, second from the left, injured his eye while play-fighting with sticks. It went untreated for a month. When the community, school staff, and a Peace Corps Volunteer found out, they paid for surgery and related expenses. Ultimately, he lost the eye. Despite the trauma, he came back to take his exams and managed to get firsts in all subjects.

This is the remote mountain village of Mafikeng (Place of Rocks) where Nohana Primary School is located (seen here just above the left foreground rock outcrop).  Laptops to Lesotho got its start here.

Click on any photo to view an enlarged version.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

XO-1.5 Laptop Donated by Contest Winner

Michelle F. of Florida won an XO-1.5 laptop through a General Mills promotion. When she contacted OLPC about donating it, they referred her to a website with a list of projects accepting donated XO laptops. She chose Laptops to Lesotho from among all the other projects listed. I’m not sure why she selected us, but I’m happy she did.

We’ll put her laptop to good use in Lesotho.  Because the XO-1.5 has more memory than the XO-1's that we normally distribute, we might use this laptop as a network server at Kokobe Primary School.

Thanks Michelle!

 - Janissa

Thursday, August 16, 2012

One Laptop Per Child San Francisco Summit, October 2012

There is a One Laptop Per Child conference scheduled for 19-21 October 2012 in San Francisco. 

Not much information is available about the conference yet.  Check the OLPC-SF website in a couple weeks for details. (olpcsf dot org slash summit)

They are calling for proposals for the conference.  I'm toying with the idea of submitting one about L2L and our approach, but am not certain yet whether or not I want to give one. 

I plan to attend the conference, whether or not I submit a paper.  If any of the L2L volunteers would like to write one (Fortunate?), let me know and I'll be happy to present it for you.  (Note:  they are looking for more interactive presentations rather than just informational slide shows.)

I expect to be driving from Idaho.  If anyone going to the conference would like to join me, I have room for 1-2 people.  I'd love to have the company.

- Janissa

Monday, August 13, 2012

January 2013 Schedule - Coming Soon

To all our trip volunteers:

I am working on the schedule for the January 2013 trip, including individual duties.  I hope to have it done and out to all of you in the next week or so.

- Janissa

A Sixth U.S. Volunteer Going to Lesotho in January

Lindsey Roy will be joining five other volunteers from the U.S. on our trip to Lesotho in January 2013.

Lindsey is a recent graduate from the University of South Carolina, with a major in psychology.  She currently lives in Cincinnati. 

Lindsey has been interested in doing volunteer work in Africa for a number of years.  While in Lesotho, she will help the project with audio-visual documentation of our work, publicity, the school reading program, and construction (wiring, shelves).

Lindsey, Welcome to Laptops to Lesotho, and thanks for your help!

- Janissa