RSS Feed (xml)

Powered By

Skin Design:
Free Blogger Skins

Powered by Blogger

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Summer Program Here We Come!

Looks like our summer program is potentially on, starting 28 June and ending 23 July. However, might need money for flights- about $2,000- plus extra money for program organizing.

Please keep donating to STeP UP OLPC so that you can help us with costs and supplies! See previous posts for things that we need- a couple of USB drives, notebooks and pencils, MONEY....


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Check out our Feb 28th article in the Union Leader!

Union Leader, The/New Hampshire Sunday News (Manchester, NH)

New Hampshire Sunday News (Manchester, NH)

February 28, 2010
Tiny country, big project

Page: 06


Estimated printed pages: 3

Article Text:
Staff report

Beth Santos has big dreams of making a difference in a very small place.

The place is the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Principe, a little known, two-island nation off the coast of West Africa that was a popular layover spot for 17th-century slave ships heading to the New World.

Santos' dream is to raise money to buy 500 additional laptop computers so she can return to the former Portuguese colony this summer with enough computers for each of the approximate 600 sixth-grade students at São João Secondary School in São Tomé, the capital of the island nation that is about one-third the size of Rhode Island.
It's a daunting challenge, but the former Durham resident and 2008 Wellesley College graduate is up for it.

"It's getting people (in São Tomé and Principe) interested in a new way of thinking and getting them excited about education. ... It's also giving them an interest in helping their country ... and develop problem-solving techniques" that will help them tackle issues of poverty, low literacy and developing a sustainable economy, the 23-year-old explained in a recent telephone interview from Washington, D.C., where she now lives.

"They are trying to figure out how to stand on their own two feet. It's going to take some time. But the kids we have right now ... are the people who are going to be improving the country. We need to start with them," the 2004 Oyster River High School graduate said.

Santos spent two months in São Tomé last fall as a volunteer with STeP UP, a non-governmental organization formally known as São Tomé and Principe Union for Promotion.
Her job was to train teachers and students to use the 100 computers that had been donated to the school last summer by the non-profit group One Laptop Per Child. When Santos arrived at the school in October, the so-called "XO laptops" were sitting in a closet unused.

She took them out, gave them to students and encouraged them to take them home. She began teaching computer classes on Saturday mornings that became so popular, students who didn't have a computer would say they did just to get in, she said.

"Everybody wanted to be in this program," Santos explained.

Santos, who speaks Portuguese, also translated the computer's user manual from English into Portuguese so teachers could use it after she left.

The problem is there were only 100 donated computers for a sixth-grade class of 612 students, Santos said. Without enough computers for each student, teachers were limited in what they could teach, she said.

Santos has been trying to raise money to buy the extra 500 laptops since she returned home to Washington in December.

The computers cost about $235 each. (Visit for information on how to donate to this project.)

Santos said computer literacy could make a huge difference in the economic development of São Tomé and Principe, a poor nation whose inhabitants are mostly descendants of slaves, and whose economy relies heavily on cocoa, coffee and fish.

Copyright, 2010, Union Leader Corp.
Record Number: mandc5-5tcfeh4mwwo94hcndke

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Gravana Program

Thinking about a gravana program to get kids using their laptops for a month in June/July.

Here's what we need to budget:

  • Teacher payment
  • Payment of someone to prepare breakfast for kids in the morning (would be a nice addition)
  • Spare computer parts and tools
  • Notebooks, pens for all students
  • Used netbooks for teachers?? USB drives
  • Use of the school building
  • Squeakland educational materials
Guessing this will probably end up being around $4,000 total.

Let's see if we can make it there so we can run a great summer program for the kids!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Sooner than later?

In Haiti right now- beautiful country. Thinking of heading to STP sooner rather than later.

I was originally planning on going over in September but now I thought it might be nice to do something in June. It can be the end of the school year and we could also have a summer program going where I teach the kids Squeak/Etoys (thanks to potential support from Squeakland).

This is what we'd do:

-2-3 week course on Etoys
-Check-in with teachers, see how everything is going
-Introduce Ebooks and other teaching materials
-Give a couple of classes on how to fix computers (bring tools)
-Help reflash computers for next year??
-Bring any more computers that I have acquired over there

It'd be a lot and I'd maybe do it all over a month. But I think it could be really great for us.

I'd love to see some funding come in so that we can purchase enough computers for the rest of the grade, but I'm not confident that we can get that happening by June. We can, however, build on what we have. I am thinking of using money that we've raised to pay teachers over this month and hold classes. I'm scared to use the money we've raised because I know people wanted to use that money to buy computers, but simply put, we don't have enough money to purchase 100 computers, which is the purchasing minimum. So maybe using that money toward keeping the program going over the summer is better....

Not sure. Thoughts would be good. Not sure if the Union Leader article was ever published. Should look into that!


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