Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Technology for Haiti's Recovery: OLPC reaches out to G1G1 supporters

If you've been reading this blog for years (and some people have, seriously) then you may recall how excited I was when the One Laptop Per Child program starting shipping its cool XO machines to developing countries. Back at the end of 2007 my wife and I participated in the Give One, Get One program which resulted in tens of thousands of XO laptops being donated to places like Rwanda, Ethiopia, Mongolia, and Cambodia.

Referred to as G1G1, program participants paid for the purchase of two XO machines, one of which was donated, the other sent to us for exploration, edification, etc.

Well, after the earthquake in Haiti, OLPC put out a call to all G1G1 supporters to ask for any unused XO machines to be donated to Haiti. Below is the email sent by Nicholas Negroponte, the OLPC movement's founder and driving force. Obviously Mr. Negroponte knows geeks pretty well. We were excited to get our laptop. We checked out the software and began to experiment with it, but then real life got in the way and "Do stuff with the XO" moved down the things-to-do list. I suspect many G1G1 supporters can relate to that. So, we are sending our XO to Haiti, per the instructions in the email, happy to think that in some small way this will help with the rebuilding of the country and the shaping of its future.

I am blogging this and including the email because I know something about geeks as well. Some of use go through email addresses like...hmmm...words fail me here...but my point is, you might not be getting email from the address you supplied when you participated in G1G1 program. And you might have missed this:

Dear G1G1er,

At the end of 2007 you participated in the Give One Get One program of One Laptop per Child (OLPC). Thanks to you and others like you, 75,000 laptops went to Rwanda, Ethiopia, Mongolia, Cambodia, Oceania, the West Bank, and Haiti.

An additional 75,000 laptops came into the USA as part of the "get" side of the equation. In some cases those laptops have since been put into closets for one reason or another.

We are gathering additional used XO laptops to send to Haiti. If you or the child to whom you gave the laptop is no longer using it, we appeal again to your generosity and ask you to send it to the address below (even if it is broken).

OLPC FOR HAITI c/o Exel
615 Westport Parkway #500
Grapevine, TX 76051

75% of the schools in Port-au-Prince have been destroyed in the recent earthquake, but by good fortune, none of our Haitian team was hurt. They have spare parts and OLPC technical staff and teachers, and stand prepared to deploy these XOs.

Because of the XO's unique features (sunlight readability, solar powered, water resistant, drop proof), it is also an ideal tool for relief work. If your XO is in use, please ignore this email. We only want your broken or unused XOs.

Sincerely,

Nicholas Negroponte