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Saturday, September 4, 2010

New Challenges / Adventures in Finance

With the school year over and a new one ahead of us, here's some updates on new initiatives/future costs for the continuation of our program in São Tomé.

For me to get to São Tomé, it will cost about $2,000 roundtrip EACH TIME. That's pretty hefty when you're raising about $3,000 per year and don't feel it's right to use that money all for your benefit.

New changes are happening in the São Tomé government, but we've gotten interest from the Embassy of Taiwan to build programs like the one in São João in four other schools across the country. This includes installing an internet hookup in all of the locations and training teachers as well. It also means we'll need to get someone local who can coordinate between the different programs. I'm writing this into our funding proposal with the Embassy but it's always good to to think ahead. A local coordinator will work with teachers, help develop the program further, and keep in touch with me and in OLPC. They will be proficient in English (for research and development purposes), a go-getter who doesn't give up easily, and passionate about technology and education. We're hoping to cut a salary of at LEAST $250 per month, which is about $3,000 per year.

Thanks to Group Excellence, Ltd, we'll be supplying our teachers with netbooks just as soon as I actually get out to the post office to mail them. We couldn't be happier with this news and are excited to get them shipped out!

My friend Faia has finally finished a cabinet for us to house our laptops. I hear it's not the prettiest thing in the world, but it does its job. And the best part is, the school's principal has requested that the unused cantina in the back of the school be swept and cleaned so that we can put the cabinet in there and maybe even make it a sort of technology room! Pictures to come if I can convince someone to take some.

As you can see, we need a clear way of getting money into this program. Not sure what the answer to that is yet, but speaking to local churches is not a bad idea. I wonder if I can't put on a fundraiser down here in NC (my new home) and maybe even across the USA. We could all party at the same time for the same event, wouldn't that be cool?

Thinking about how we could work this. If you have ideas, share 'em.

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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