Having just recently started volunteering with non-profit One Laptop per Child, I've been amazed to find out about their Contributors Program. OLPC offers free XO laptops if you help their worldwide children's project. I can hardly imagine a truer opportunity: get involved in OLPC hands-on, find out how easy it is to touch lives in far corners of our planet, and weave your very own inspiration into one of the most humanitarian endeavors out there. (I find it shocking how few people know about the opportunity!)
How It Works: The OLPC Contributor's Program seeds grassroots initiative allowing teachers, engineers, librarians, and community advocates (actually anyone!) to create projects around the OLPC movement. The Contributors Program then provides XO laptops to any dedicated person who can help OLPC and its Sugar software provide learning content, technologies or teaching tools to countless needy kids worldwide. In fact, There's an App for That:-)
A very quick App(lication) in fact, with free shipping worldwide in about a week! Which is why the Contributors Program has already seen a stream of successes. I'm hoping to share the best of these with you in future writings. Already, Contributors are creating a vast array of Activities for the XO - from text-to-speech technology, new math programs, and even a disaster relief system. Best of all, the Contributors Program works hard to pair every proposal with a dedicated Mentor to assist you in any questions or challenges arising during your project!
I really urge you to apply, if you share OLPC's community vision to make things happen. Literally people of all ages can submit ideas - if you or the people you know can dedicate yourselves to creating software, hardware, illustrations, teaching guides, puzzles, quality-testing or support - you name it.
Can you advance Activities focused on the environment, languages, health, science, math or humanities? Or perhaps you're striving to be a social entrepreneur? Then set up a local laptop-lending library, or a community repair center, whatever!
Now that summer is here, now is a perfect opportunity for teachers, after-school providers, college students and aspiring youth leaders to get involved, enhancing a myriad of XO learning tools. Do you know students of any age you can engage? Tell them advance prototypes of the new XO 1.5 hardware will be available in August to projects requiring superfast technology, spurring the impact of their work further than they will ever know...
Honestly, how often in your life do you get the chance to dedicate your energy to a cause that stands to impact the minds of millions of hungry kids worldwide? If you just have a few hours a week, you can participate in this powerful worldwide movement, simply by reading the FAQs and submitting a proposal. Then go thank yourself for making a difference by meeting the kids in 2019.
Margaret Hartley is a recent Boston University graduate dedicated to improving female education and access to learning technologies in East Africa. She will even be your mentor if you ask nicely.