1. Callister, Lynn Clark PhD, RN, FAAN

Article Content

The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Foundation, a small nonprofit organization in Cambridge Massachusetts, says on its Web site that it seeks "to provide educational opportunities for the world's poorest children by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning" (; retrieved July 14, 2009). This community driven project originated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, which designed the laptop, which can be used in outdoor classrooms and harsh environments. The $100 eye catching green and white XO-2 is the size of a book, and can be charged by solar power. Children can also generate power themselves with a hand crank. After just 18 months, more than a half million laptops have been distributed in Argentina, Afghanistan, Brazil, Cambodia, China, Columbia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, India, Iraq, Mongolia, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Uruguay, and Rwanda with the initiative spreading throughout the world.

Figure. No caption a... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. No caption available.

In December 2008, high in the Peruvian Andes, 4,000 laptops were provided to rural teachers and school children living in very remote villages. Seven hundred laptops were provided to La Macarena's school children, who had previously experienced killings, kidnappings, land mines, extortion and death from guerrilla rebels. These laptops provide a ray of hope for improvement of their lives.


In Uruguay this innovative program is called Plan CEIBAL. According to president Dr. Tabare Vazquez, "To date we have delivered 151,918 computers-low-power laptops that operate with flash memory-to students in public schools in Uruguay. By the end of 2009 one laptop will be delivered to each of the 301,142 students and 12,879 teachers in Uruguay's 2,064 public schools. Students with mental, visual, hearing, or motor disabilities will also receive computers specifically tailored to meet their needs" (; retrieved July 14, 2009).


A Uruguayan teacher wrote about one of her 12-year-old students who had serious behavioral and educational problems. After painstakingly writing a story on his X0-2, he "read it many times in silence, stood in front and with tears in his eyes read the text to the class. 'I know how to read, I know how to read!!' he shouted, excited and smiling. For him it was an unforgettable day. He wrote and read aloud" (; Retrieved July 14, 2009).


The Rwanda OLPC was launched in late 2008 supported by President Paul Kagame with the goal to provide computer access to 2.3 million Rwandan school children. According to observers of the launching of this initiative with 500 children, "[Observers were] bowled over by [the children's'] prowess, imagination, and strong optimism for the future" (; retrieved July 14, 2009).


In April 2009, the OLPC Aghanistani team distributed 396 laptops that are preinstalled with the Ministry of Education standard national curriculum books and health information translated into the national languages of Aghanistan (Dari and Pashto). The Aghanistani OLPC initiative highlights the potential to meet Millennium Development Goals #1 (Eradicate poverty and hunger), #2 (Achieve universal primary education), #3 (Promote gender equality and empower women, and #4 (Reduce child mortality) through the inclusion of health information on these computers. In addition, since children with these computers have access to the Internet, children and their families can access health information from multiple sites (Fontelo, Liu, Zhangk, & Ackerman, 2008).


OLPC is now funding the establishment of core groups of university students who participate in internship programs in a specific country, teaching children and their teachers how to use the XO-2. In 2009, 220 proposals were submitted by university teams and 30 were selected, including one team from Utah State University who will spend 3 months in Rwanda providing education and support. I am so pleased that my granddaughter Alyssa Callister is part of this team!!


OLPC is working toward the proposed United Nations Ninth Millennium Goal: to ensure that every child between the ages of 6-12 years of age has immediate access to a personal laptop computer by 2015 in order to break the cycle of poverty, disease, and malnutrition in children. One laptop per child can change the world!!




Fontelo, P., Lliu, F., Zhang, K., & Ackerman, M. (2008). British Medical Journal, 337, a2459. [Context Link]