I asked Rabi several questions:
(He looked surprised. I know he is the Executive Director, but want to know what exactly he does daily.) Sometimes I work up to 16 hours a day, but have to cut down my work hours to not burn out. I lead groups and make sure they all have the capabilities and resources… I manage those groups and resolve problems, work with the government officials.
Why are you doing it?
Because I care about education and believe that you can’t just drop computers off, you have to show how to handle them, how to teach ICT (Information and communication technology), how to communicate. (I guess, miracles do not just happen, they are made by people.)
Are you happy?
Yes, even though there are always ups and downs. (Find something you love to do and never work a day in your life.)
Do you have a volunteer program?
Yes, we have a program for locals 18-19 year old, who in their gap year after high school. They get trained, and then go to schools and help teachers in April for three weeks. They get technical plus teaching experience at the same time.
What issues do you foresee?
If OLPC switches to a tablet for good, and will not support old models, that will be hard for the existing deployments. Who then gets to decide which school gets new model and which gets old model of XO? Fairness factor will be in question. Then where to get spare parts: batteries, screens, etc. for old models? OLPC should focus on making hardware and improving current model of XO, not necessary creating content or education plans. The other problem is that OLPC does not sell XOs to the public directly in small quantities. Should they? What if a private school wants to buy only 100 computers?
Where do you see yourself in two years?
I will still be in Nepal, running our deployment. There is still a lot of work to be done, especially on getting the government on board. You have to explain what kind of benefits come from the use of computers in schools. We are also thinking about providing consulting services to those who need help with getting XOs and implementing them in their schools.
(Rabi’s picture courtesy of Nancie Severs,