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One Laptop Per Child Update July 5, 2013

Filed under: Volunteering — polyachka @ 5:43 pm
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Pay It Forward Giving WallPay It Forward (PIF) for Business event took place on Monday, July 1 at 3110 Lounge Main Street in Santa Monica. It was organized by Your Office Agent. PIF is about bringing the best companies in Santa Monica to give free advice and help grow small and medium sized businesses. It was the 4th PIF since Dec 2012, and it was Free of Charge. The focus has been from entrepreneurs to tech. Every PIF has a giving wall, where people post their offerings to the community or just tell about their products and services. It was a vibrant networking environment. Thank you to all 450 people for paying it forward!

My group Santa Monica New Tech (SMNT) was invited to this event. We are a community group of 1800+ members who meet to demo cool technology from local startups, give feedback and network.  SMNT had a table where we displayed several examples of technology and its timeline:  laptops from 5 years ago, 3 years ago and 1 year ag0. We invited everyone interested in new technology to our events. Our offer was one free ticket to our demo/feedback event on July 24 for those who stopped by our table at PIF4! We also told about volunteer opportunities in tech, see below.

Update:July 1 PIF SMNT

Four generation OS laptops have been manufactured since 2007 and distributed to children in schools around the world. Check out the map olpcmap.net with all OLPC projects, volunteers and XOs.

There are only 4 XO machines are available for now:

XO-1, XO-1.5, XO-1.75 and the new XO-4 Touch laptop.

XO-3s were built, they are basically a Sugar tablet (no keyboard), but not sold.

The XO-4 (touchscreen and keyboard) seems to be more popular.

XO-4 Touch has a few customers, including unleashkids.org.

“Unleash Kids” being the brand new all-volunteer campaign Mike Lee, Christoph Derndorfer, Bill Stelzer, Adam Holt and many others just began to create video documentary live interviews every 2 weeks, so the story of a new country’s OLPC-like work gets out there far more intimately! Unleash Kids, an all-volunteer non-profit group, will also be selling individual XO-4 Community Kits to people like Peace Corps / Makers later this summer, while directly supporting some very cool Haiti deployments.

Learn more on FB  http://facebOLPCMap Picook.com/unleashkids

Watch bi-weekly interviews of different OLPC countries http://youtube.com/unleashkids

OLPC’s Miami office will also be selling an Android tablet at Walmart under the name “XO Learning Tablet” as some point soon we’re told.  http://olpcnews.com

OLPC grassroots is seeking tech volunteers to work on technology for education! Tech volunteers are needed to help testing the new http://schoolserver.org which is getting a lot of traction, and amazingly so after volunteers took OLPC’s bitrotted XS 0.7 and turned it into a real community product with growing users on every continent (XS Community Edition!)

To learn more about OLPC and Sugar global community, please read http://planet.laptop.org and http://olpcMAP.net.

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Ba Chieu Home Update (Part Three) September 11, 2012

Filed under: Volunteering — polyachka @ 4:52 pm
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This is the last part of Celia’s Caughey newsletter about Ba Chieu Shelter:

“Vinacapital in HCMC has also been assisting the Home (thanks to kiwi Brook Taylor) by having some of its staff work as volunteers in computer training for the girls.

Lorraine’s visit

During the July school holidays another link with New Zealand was strengthened when Lorraine Andrewes from the St Andrews Early Childhood Centre in Epsom, Auckland, came to Ho Chi Minh City (at her own cost) and stayed for 2 weeks in the Home.  Lorraine is a trained kindergarten teacher who was able to spend time teaching the girls art in their holidays as well as doing some great face painting and developing closer bonds with the girls, many of whom are in need of motherly contact.  Lorraine has also organized a fundraising event at the kindergarten for the Home.

New Website

One of the kiwis in HCM City who has helped with selling books for the Home is Julia Parker. Now back in New Zealand in her new role as Futureintech Facilitator Julia has arranged for Naomi Shingler at St Dominic’s College to create a new website for the Home.  This is long overdue, so we await her work with keen interest.

Fundraising in Bonn

More kiwi connections are emerging in other corners of the world.  I was contacted by a former teacher at NZ’s ACG School in HCMC who is now teaching in Germany at the Bonn International School.  She is keen for her students to be able to support the Ba Chieu Home through their Community and Service project, so has sent their donation through to WOCA.

ACG and swimming

The New Zealand Associated Colleges Group HCMC campus has generously allowed the girls to use their swimming pool on Sundays to learn to swim for the past few years.  This continues the New Zealand link with  the Home, and several kiwis have also volunteered to give up their Sunday morning to supervise the swimming sessions.  Many thanks to Ian King and his Vietnam staff for this very kind gesture; it is much appreciated.

New Zealand Chamber of Commerce – NZ Wine and Food Festival

This year once again the New Zealand Chamber of Commerce organized the New Zealand Wine and Food Festival, the hottest event in town, which began in 2000 (when I was Trade Commissioner).  Thanks to good organization, a superb event and generous sponsorship, the Chamber was able this year to make a significant donation to the Home, which could pay for maintenance on the house and provided new lockers for the girls, as well as contributing to operating costs.

Meeting Tram

In a newsletter last year I included a photo of one of our earliest girls, Tram, who spent many years at the Home, as a beautiful bride.  On my recent trip to Vietnam I passed through Danang where Tram now lives and was able to meet up with her and her beautiful new baby boy.   When she left the Home with a good education Tram was able to get a good job in the jewellery department of a large department store in the centre of the City, and it was there that she met her husband to be.  It is lovely to see her now happily married and starting a family of her own.

It is always heartwarming for me to go back and see the Home running well and the girls thriving and happy, thanks to the generosity of you all –  friends of the Home, donors and those who have bought the books and game which were produced to support the Home.

Many thanks for your continued interest and support.

Celia M Caughey

Fundraising Coordinator, Ba Chieu Home, Ho Chi Minh City

Tel 6305292   021 1402 190, Email: celia@primenz.com

Buy an ethical gift this Christmas and support the Ba Chieu Home

http://seriouslyboard.co.nz/kiwiana/vote-for-vietnam-and-for-charity/”

 

Ba Chieu Home Update (Part Two) August 31, 2012

Filed under: Volunteering — polyachka @ 4:25 pm
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From Celia Caughey newsletter August 2012:

New girls

“The new girls are mostly 12 or 13, with one, Tuyen, only 7.  Tuyen is tiny but a bundle of energy.  She has always lived with her grandmother who was moving around too much for Tuyen to go to school.  She loves to sing and is looking forward to being able to start school in September.  Lua (12) had a complicated family set-up and dropped out of school after Year 1 when her mother left, then worked looking after younger children and as a waitress in beer halls.  Now in the Home she will be able to resume her schooling in Year 2.   Dang (12) has been sleeping  at night in the park on stone benches with her father and by day selling various wares in the backpackers’ area, so will now be able to start school in Year 1.  Linh (12) has lived with foster parents who are tenant farmers but live too far away from a school for her to attend, so they brought her to the Home so that she could go to school.  Kieu (12) was abandoned by her parents when they both divorced and remarried, then lived with her grandmother who sold lottery tickets on the streets.  When she got too old to look after Kieu she brought her to the Home.  Trinh (13) and Vy (13) have both come to the Home so that they can continue schooling  which their families couldn’t provide, while Tram (13) has come as her father died and mother has a terminal illness with not long to live.  That gives you a picture of who our girls are and why they come into the Home.

Partnership with Fonterra

While I was in Ho Chi Minh City I was pleased to be able to formalize a partnership with the HCMC based office of Fonterra.  As part of their Corporate Social Responsibility programme they aim to focus on children and provide dairy nutrition.  They have chosen Ba Chieu Home as a key partner to seek to build a long term relationship with, given its link with New Zealand and with their principles.  The General Manager, Leon Clement,  said his staff “were also impressed with the Home’s management and the dedicated people that work there”.  This is all very good news!  I organized an afternoon meeting between Leon, a dozen of Fonterra’s management team and Mrs Thanh, Vice President of the Women’s Charity Association which administers the Home, at the Home with all the girls there.  Leon said in his speech he thought Fonterra shared the same values as the Home, in terms of nourishment, care and protection.    The partnership will involve Fonterra donating UHT milk for the girls to have a glass each every day, and its staff getting to know the girls to look for other ways to assist.  Staff raised funds which were used to give all the girls a new pair of shoes and new school uniforms to start the new academic year.  Leon also hosted the girls at his home at a party to celebrate the Lunar New Year.  (He commented that at the party the girls behaved remarkably well and showed great maturity in their contact with other guests, more so than many of the other children there.)   This is a very promising initiative which should provide great long term benefit to the Home.  I am happy to see New Zealand businesses working in Vietnam giving back by providing assistance to the Home”.

From my students only Hanh (picture in the bottom) is still at the shelter; she is an accounting student now.

 

Lunar Tet Holiday for Poor Children January 6, 2012

The Lunar New Year is nearly upon us and the 2012 Tết Holiday in Vietnam is shaping up to be bigger and better than ever before. Here at Volunteers for Peace Vietnam Saigon Branch we are just as excited as everyone else and we want to use this year’s Tết as an opportunity to extend our outreach in Vietnam.

Project Overview

For a new year coming, Tet 2012, we would like to organize a voluntary trip to K’rông Pa, a small village in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai. We want to try and make a difference to this community (especially for children) in a variety of ways over a 2-3 day trip. Villages like K’rông Pa are often forgotten in popular society and rarely receive voluntary aid; and the local people have a very poor living condition at the moment. We are looking to raise funds to help us make a positive impact in K’rông Pa, hopefully leading to continued efforts in similar communities in the future.

There will be 3 main aspects to the trip:

  • Gift and everyday necessities donation
  • Organisation of traditional games of Tet for children
  • Personal Hygiene guidance     

Gifts: We would like to give presents to the local children in celebration of Tết. Ideally we are looking for direct donations of everyday necessities such as food, blankets, clothes, in particular socks and underwear, as well as important items like new mosquito nets and any other items you may feel are relevant to the living conditions. We understand this is not always possible and will also look to raise funds in order to purchase gifts ourselves. Everything will be spread out equally and we hope for every child to receive the same or similar gifts which emphasizes the importance of these donations. This is a great chance to enhance the living standards of these children but also the families who may be too poor to afford these crucial items.

Activities and Games: With 2 or 3 days in Buon Phum, we plan to arrange many activities for the children especially but we would like to involve as many people as possible. We will play traditional Tết games and arrange performances by the VPV volunteers involved in the project and stories around the fire etc. The most special event will be the making of ‘Bánh Chưng’. It is perhaps the most famous food associated with Tết, It is a rice cake with a square shape to represent the earth. The outer layer wraps in green banana leaves. In the middle is pork meat and mung bean to represent animals and plants on earth. It’s a special tradition and will be lots of fun for everyone involved. This will also be a great opportunity for volunteers and local people to share both experiences of living in such contrasting environments and also local customs that either group of people may find interesting.

Personal Hygiene Guidance: Perhaps the most important aspect of the trip will be a Personal Hygiene guidance for villagers to learn more about improving their cleanliness and personal health. It is so important as we hope to develop simple but crucial life skills that will benefit the children especially in later life. If we can get them to understand the significance of brushing your teeth or the most effective way to keep warm in the cooler mountain weather they will be able to avoid simple but devastating health problems that can arise as they get older. As part of the guidance we would like to offer free toiletries, like toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap, toilet paper and other important accessories in hygiene. We need to raise funds in order to create pamphlets that can be distributed amongst locals as well as the amenities mentioned earlier to give out so that we can put the message into practical use for the foreseeable future.

Resources – Available and Required

Available:

  • VPV Staff
  • Local Volunteers

Needed:

As a non-profit organization it is difficult to arrange a project like this which is unrelated to everyday work and provide sufficient funds from within the organization. The fundraising efforts break down into two main areas:

Donations either in actual physical objects, gifts or items for workshop or funds which can be used by VPV to purchase these items. Donors will be made aware of the use of their contributions.

  1. Transportation costs: – there will be around 20 – 30 volunteers taking part in the project. Most are students and will have difficulty in covering transportation costs. The maximum will be 30 and the price per person is estimated around 500,000VND per person. The target transport budget will be 15m VND which will cover the maximum number of volunteers but if we do not reach capacity can be used in the same way as funds donated towards the gift giving or workshop.
  2. Ways of donation: directly at VPV office (88/1B Đào Duy Anh, ward 9, Phu Nhuan district, HCMC) from Monday to Saturday (7:00 am – 9:00 pm) (for local volunteers)
  3. Through Western Union Service / Transfer from Visa card / Pay pal /….. (for international volunteers)

Information of person in charge of fund raising and received your support:

Name: Don Hong Minh

Phone number: +84(915 767 897)

Email: saigon@vpv.vn

ID card number: 111583231

ID card day of issue: Jan 10th 2011

Bank Account: 102 2526 9503 017

SWIFT: VTCB VN VX       

Any amount of donation will be highly appreciated (5usd, 10usd,…)

VPV is a trustable organization I volunteered for in 2010. I donated money for this project two years ago and wrote in a blog post about this annual initiative of bringing food to children in the Highlands of Vietnam for Tet. If you feel like making someone happy, it is a good cause. These children live in real poverty, and your presents will brighten their lives!

 

Results of the Happiness Survey June 3, 2011

Back in March I crafted a survey to help understand what makes people happy and if technology can help us become happier. Volunteers completed the survey anonymously either online or on paper. There were two groups of respondents: a) middle class, age range of 20-40 y.o., who use technology for social purpose, not particularly religious, mainly employed, b) middle to upper class retired people, i.e. 50 y.o. and above, who are not too fond of technology vs. face-to-face meetings for social purpose, mainly non-religious, but with high priorities on ethics and humanism (representatives from Boston Ethical Society). Thank you to all participants!

The Happiness survey is phase One of The Ultimate Answer project, which is about:

  • ›What makes people happy?
  • ›How open are people to share their ideas about happiness and help each other?
  • ›Are there any “common denominators” of happiness?
  • ›Is it possible to measure happiness and how?
  • ›How can happiness be increased in the world?
  • ›Can technology leverage human potential to increase happiness and how?
  • ›What is the meaning of life and how to find it?

82 people answered the survey: 15 from Boston Ethical Society(BES) and 67 from non-BES.

Here are some highlights:

  • 99% knows what happiness is, but only 72% knows what the meaning of life is. Those 28% who have no clue really need to catch up on Monty Python…
  • People are more likely to give a piece of advice than to receive it.
  • 9 out of 10 said that happiness is not permanent, it changes over time.
  • Answers from BES (more ethical and older) group were different from non-BES respondents.
  • Meaning of life is different from personal happiness.

Please, feel free to check out the results of the survey for yourself Happiness Survey Results

Re-posted from Results of the Happiness Survey.

 

March olpcMAP update March 18, 2011

1.  Search made easy: now people come up first! Nick has rewritten search so that names take precedence over group names, and group names take precedence over descriptions, so these searches now show what you’d expect, and more common names (such as “Haiti”) still show the whole country in Google Maps.

2.  New way to move your markers or change your name on the map. And that is how:

* Don’t do it in Internet Explorer, it will not work, do it another browser.
* If you created a brand new marker, you can click and drag marker until you have left the page.

 * If you have an older marker that you want to move: click Edit, then click the new link on top of the window: “Change Name or Location”
* On the new page, click and drag your marker
* Follow the “Click to Confirm by Email” link above the map (this e-mail goes to the contact address for the marker)
* Check your e-mail and click to confirm (it’ll take you directly to your newly-placed marker)

3.  Profile pages: profile pages are different from markers.  It is easy to see all information about the person or deployment on the page and in the future pages will enable creation of groups. You can find a link to your profile page in your marker’s “Bookmarks” section. For example, Nick’s page is http://olpcMAP.net/page?id=359001

4.  We now have Featured articles or markers on the map’s homepage  http://olpcMAP.net/home If you want to suggest somebody’s blog post, article or a volunteer/deployment to be featured on the map, email us the link to a blog or website, or just the name, and we will feature them! Please, use beautify@olpcmap.net

5.  New view is http://olpcmap.net/?view=alt together with local views like http://olpcMAP.net?go=Jamaica&view=alt This view enables you to hide either volunteers or deployments by clicking the checkboxes in the upper left.  That’s also where you can check to view News/Articles. It’s possible to do geographic searches of news, just like we do with go=Jamaica, but until we have many news items, we show the most recent 100.

6. You can add more news/articles at http://olpcMAP.net/share/news  They become part of Shared and the news layer at the same time!  We post it openly at http://olpcMAP.net/geonews

7. It took several months to process, receive and upload all video interviews from SF OLPC Summit in Oct 2010, but finally it is all done. Please see all 28 interviews uploaded to youtube under user verhovzeva. Links to the Interviews were also added to interviewees’ markers on the map. Enjoy!

 

Storytelling Class for kids March 13, 2011

Filed under: Volunteering — polyachka @ 1:00 pm
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What: Learn how to create your very own computer storybook. You’ll get to write about anything you want, add pictures, and draw your characters into the story!

Who: Kids ages 8-12 from the Clarendon Hill Apartments and surrounding areas of Somerville, MA, USA

Where: The CHA Computer Lab.

When: Monday and Wednesday evenings from 5:30 to 7:00. The first class will be held on Monday, March 28th!

Monday evenings will be training classes, while Wednesday evenings will be “free play” for kids to practice what they learned. Classes will run every week until mid-May.

More information: Participants in this free class will be using eToys, an interactive computer program designed with kids in mind. They’ll learn how to draw “sketches” using eToys and use these sketches to create a story about a topic of their choosing. Creativity will be emphasized…and ultimately, the goal of this class is to have FUN!

If you’re interesting in signing up for this class: Please call Lince or Franklin from The Haitian Coalition at 617.625.6400. Or, send an email with your name and contact information to etoysclass@gmail.com and we’ll get back to you shortly! Space is limited, so please RSVP.

Thanks, and we hope to see you soon!

 

 
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