It is a holiday season in Boston. While there is some downtime at work, I’d like to tell you how it all started. First time I heard about OLPC was probably two years ago, when my friend sent me a link about the company and what it is trying to achieve. More up-to-date info is here: About OLPC.
On Oct 24, 2009 I attended the Boston Book Festival http://www.bostonbookfest.org where Nicholas Negroponte, the founder of OLPC, spoke about the company’s mission and demonstrated an XO. He talked about deployments in Africa, and I was impressed that they provided laptops and hundreds of e-books to children in remote locations. As a result, children in some places taught their parents to read!
Wanting to learn more about the company, I emailed OLPC. Later I found out that they don’t really have a customer service department and therefore no phone number at which they can be reached. Not hearing back from them, and not being able to phone them, I decided not to give up, but do more research. I joined OLPC group on Facebook and found out about an upcoming OLPC meet-up in NYC on Nov 21.
Church of St Mary the Virgin on 133 W 46th was an unusual place to have a technology related meeting but I climbed the stairs to the third floor and found a room full of people.
I immediately sat next to a guy who was in the middle of the room alone and looked new to this whole thing, just like me. I found out that he runs his own non-profit organization, focusing on providing services to people in developing countries, and he is here to possibly cooperate with OLPC. His website is http://www.thekopernik.org/
I also met Mafe who is part of OLPC group in Philippines and a volunteer on eKindling project in Lubang, Mindoro.
And finally I met Adam Holt, who officially works for OLPC, unlike many others, and who is from Boston! Adam is in charge of technical support, community liason, contributors program and many other things. This meeting, organized by Jim Lombard, drew people from all walks of life, united by the same idea of education by means of technology for kids around the world.
Several people talked about deployments at different locations, including Virginia/DC area, New York, San Francisco, Philippines, Nepal, etc.
Adam became my main link to OLPC. So I told him that I wanted to start a deployment in Vietnam. But he said that they already have one that just started in Hanoi area, Vietnam. I was surprised. Later at home I checked OLPC Vietnam page and found Vung Vieng Fishing project started by Nancie Severs not far from Ha Long Bay.
After reading Nancie’s blog, I realized that at the time of Boston Book Festival she was on her way to the village with 12 XO computers, and by the time of the NYC OLPC meeting, children already had ownership of the XOs and were using them in full mode.
There is a high chance that anything you think about is actually being materialized by someone else somewhere in the world! 😉