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Me The Geek » Blog Archive » Uruguay: the first laptops for the children
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03 Dec

Uruguay: the first laptops for the children


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Internet is amazing. I learned about the deployment of the first OLPC batch here in Uruguay through Techmeme->Ivan Krstić’s blog. And I live here!

Uruguayan kids with XO's

Ivan’s article is inspirational and exciting. I absolutely believe in the OLPC program, and will do what it is at my reach to support it. There are lots of good people here that I know will join in volunteering to help as the program advances.

On the other hand - and I know this level of honesty is dangerous - part of me wanted to title this article “I gave a Laptop to a child before you!” and start with another tale I wanted to share this week: a very young boy (8 years old according to police suspicions), broke into my apartment last Wednesday night (while Carolina and me were sleeping) stealing cash and my brand new Sony Vaio. Of course I risk being accused of being a bitter-sarcastic-smart ass geek (hey, maybe you are right!) but my feelings remain.

So what’s my point? Of course: giving a Laptop to every child will not solve our bigger social problems (half our children will still be poor tomorrow) but I believe that it is an excellent tool for increasing their future opportunities. So, while I would like to have all my geek friends helping with the technical aspects of the Ceibal/OLPC project, lets take the opportunity to try and share more than our technical knowledge: lets try and convince these children of the benefits of education, work, honesty and entrepreneurship. How? With our examples, our stories, and our REAL help.

A culture of begging and stealing is gaining a strong hold in our society. I will not argue this fact with anyone: denying it implies you either have not been to Uruguay in the last 80 years, or you are a politician at government with some odd stakes.

Lets fight this reality above all, by any means, at every chance we get! The Ceibal/OLPC project is a good opportunity. Lets use it well my friends!

I will help as many kids I can at their school, but will still make them clear that I will not forgive and will gladly help in the detention and punishment of whoever breaks into my house and steals my hard earned 800 dollars laptop and stuff. These are both promises.

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2 Responses to “Uruguay: the first laptops for the children”

  1. 1
    Bryan Siegel Says:

    I agree with you. I’m all for helping people, but I’m kinda skeptical on this one. It’s hard for me to digest that a laptop is going to make a positive impact on children within third world countries. Personally I’ve lived in Kuala Lumpur and have seen REAL poverty first hand.

    I might be looked at as a negative person in this matter but I have a few questions.

    1. Do the kids take the laptops home?
    2. Did they provide these children with some type of service to fix them?

    I can’t help it but if I were living in a poor country and someone provided me with a laptop I would rather eat than use it and if these children are allowed to take the laptops home the manufacturer made sure it was bright colors so that a thief can locate it easy.

    My question is what type of support is given when something is donated? I’ve seen the specs for these things and noticed they are built to last but geeks know things break. We should go in there and educate.

    “So, while I would like to have all my geek friends helping with the technical aspects of the Ceibal/OLPC project, lets take the opportunity to try and share more than our technical knowledge: lets try and convince these children of the benefits of education, work, honesty and entrepreneurship. How? With our examples, our stories, and our REAL help.”

    That comment is what made me comment. You hit it on the nose.

  2. 2
    name Says:

    1. Do the kids take the laptops home?

    Indeed they do.
    Also, first measurements of the laptops usage show a spike at about 11 pm, which shows that the kids’ parents do use them after children’s bedtime.

    2. Did they provide these children with some type of service to fix them?

    They have a policy of one free replacement, and infinite paid ones, IIRC.

    My question is what type of support is given when something is donated? I’ve seen the specs for these things and noticed they are built to last but geeks know things break. We should go in there and educate.

    ACtually that’s the whole point. Peut-être you should read a little bit more about the implementation details of the OLPC program in Uruguay.

    Do not misunderstand me: I’m not saying is perfect, or even that it is the way to go… but your questions are simple not reasonable.

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