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Monday, December 19, 2011


Had a spectacular time at our Martinis for OLPC event yesterday. THANK YOU to all who came and drank in support of our students (boy does that sound wrong to type!). We had a great atmosphere, some great people and huge success all around. Even one of the bartenders bought a piece of photography!

Will check in tomorrow with a summary of how much we raised!

If you weren't able to make it, there's still time to donate via the button on the left side of this page.

Thank you for your support!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Stella & Dot Joining us for Dec 18 Fundraiser

Great news! Nicole Hensch from Stella & Dot will be joining us to sell jewelry at the martini fundraiser at Marty's Martini Bar on December 18th!

15% of all purchases will benefit STEP UP OLPC, so bring your cash as she'll have some great jewelry to share.

See her Facebook page here!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

MARTINI FUNDRAISER: Sunday, December 18th, 2011!!

Exciting announcement! Marty's Martini Bar in Andersonville (1511 West Balmoral, Chicago), also known as my favorite martini bar in the world, has offered to do a fundraiser for my laptop program in São Tomé!

The event will be from 2-5pm on SUNDAY, DECEMBER 18th. Just in time for the season of giving :)

ALL profit that Marty's makes will go to STEP UP OLPC.

In addition to martinis, we'll also be selling t-shirts and the beautiful photography that the kids have done.

If you'd like to help plan for the event, shoot me an email. I need all the help I can need to set up, schmooze, collect contact information and sell merchandise!

More soon--for now, SPREAD THE WORD!!!

Thanks, everyone!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Sustainability and Money

Two important words, of course.

I'm reading The White Man's Burden by William Easterly. In it, he talks about how sustainability can only really be built with personal investment from the people involved. How just shoving money and objects into people's faces isn't going to build sustainable growth.

So then I started thinking about our class in São Tomé and how it would really benefit from a local coordinator who can be trained to understand these laptops, communicate with me regularly and help the teachers out.

At first I was going to find payment for this person though the Embassy of Taiwan. But what if the students funded his pay?

What if we asked each student that wanted to participate in the program to pay the school $12 per year to participate (about 17,000 Dobras, which is less than the price of a beer)? Then, 9 months of the year, a part-time coordinator would earn $100 USD per month from the ~100 students involved. The other $300 USD could go to the school to benefit its own costs (this last detail I'm still unsure about; it might be more prudent to just charge each student $9/year instead).

That way, the kids are invested, as well as their families, without choking up a fortune. There is a local coordinator who is invested and making money, trying to get the program to grow. The teachers are getting extra support and assistance, and the school is making a little bit of money off of it all.

We could also raise money to sponsor those children who are truly not poor enough to afford the class. We could raise $120 per year to put ten students who can't pay otherwise through the program.

What do you think? Is this crazy, or could this work?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

CWS = No go

Looks like no one wants to fund travel. Not even Wellesley's CWS could think of how I could get to São Tomé!

On the hunt again...

Netbooks arrived to teachers today

The five netbooks I sent to São Tomé arrived today in the hands of our teachers. Just got an email from Nélys, absolutely astounded:

 noěs fundo d coraçaŢo...principalmente eu...NEěLYS.

pra ser sincero eu smpre acreditei k tu enviarias......os computdres..mas k n chgssem taŢo cedo...mas enfim...amei....e estou mt tudo isso....imagina soě as caras dosoutros colegas?
   bjs....e mt obrigado!

It's a good feeling when you see the work that the teachers have put into this cause. They deserve those computers. Now onto seeing how I can get myself over there to talk with someone about our OLPC program. Wellesley College CWS (Center for Work and Service), here I come!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Guardian Angels

Today is a new day; I can feel it.

This morning we received three generous donations for our laptop program, one large and one very large. Though all support is encouraged and appreciated, you certainly can't deny that the most generous ones definitely make the greatest impact, and for this I am so grateful.

Thanks to the incredible selflessness demonstrated today, we will be able to buy 75 brand new chargers and 30 power strips (with surge protectors, so they don't blow out again) for our students in São Tomé. We'll also be able to pay for the very expensive shipping that will get them to the students before long, so that they don't have to wait for my next visit to keep things rolling.

This brings me confidence that I can get the funding I need to make the trip to São Tomé again this summer or fall to talk with the appropriate people about growing this program country-wide.

On an unrelated, but possibly quite related, note, it was supposed to be mostly cloudy today with a chance of thunderstorms. However, contrary to the weather prediction, the morning has given way to the most beautiful blue sky. I am eternally thankful for the kindness of people around this world.


Please click the button below to donate to STEP UP OLPC to support the São João school's computer program in São Tomé:

Donate $200 and you will be paying for a computer for at least FIVE very special children at São João (as estimated computer life is five years). Thanks so much!

Want your donation to be tax-deductible? Send a check to STeP UP with OLPC in the memo. Then mail it to:

Eric McClafferty
Kelley and Drye
3050 S St. NW, #400
Washington, DC 20007