International Nonprofit Helps Haitian Students Begin To Rebuild
On the heels of its introduction into Afghanistan, One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), a nonprofit aimed at bringing computers and Internet access to students in need throughout the world, has begun to make inroads into another country in the process of rebuilding: Haiti. With the help of package delivery service DHL Express, OLPC has pledged 2,000 of refurbished XO laptop computers to students in Haiti displaced by the recent earthquake that devastated the country.
According to a spokesperson, the company picked up the first shipment of laptops in Dallas March 11 and delivered them to Caribbean nonprofit Waveplace in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince the following Monday, March 15. The organization is now preparing to deliver the computers to students in four hard-hit communities.
Robert Fadel, senior director for international partnerships at OLPC, praised the company's hands-on efforts to help rebuild the country's education infrastructure. "DHL's current support has enabled The One Laptop per Child Foundation to quickly and efficiently deliver donated XO laptops to children in Haiti," said Fadel. "We look forward to continued support from DHL Express as we work with the Haitian government, the United Nations, and other NGOs (non-governmental organizations) to expand the XO laptop program in Haiti."
XO laptops were created by industry experts for the OLPC program and were designed to be less expensive, more energy-efficient, and better able to withstand the potential for damage in more rugged environments such as Haiti, which the United Nations estimates will be struggling to recover and rebuild from the disaster for several years to come. The ultimate goal of the program is to bring modern education, via access to the Internet and the world of knowledge and opportunity it offers, to every student throughout the world, regardless of economic, social, or political circumstances.
"The event of near total reconstruction of Haitian education infrastructure provides the unique opportunity to rethink school and how children learn," said Nicholas Negroponte, Chairman of OLPC. "Providing each child with a connected, rugged, hand-cranked or solar-powered laptop, to use at home and in school, provides a unique learning experience and makes each child an agent of change."
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Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.