A magic more enchanting than any of the Harry Potter tales will sweep through Nepal soon, thanks to a pair of students who are working to take $100 laptops to children in the country's remotest and most underdeveloped villages, where there is no electricity or even books.Until the 'Mero sanu sathi' - my little friend - finds a child who can write the next literary blockbuster on his Nepali and English character XO keyboard, OLPC Nepal is looking for funding with the education and sports ministry and major donors. One donor I suggest they consider is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Access to Learning Award, a $1 million dollar award that recognizes innovative efforts outside the United States to connect disadvantaged people and remote communities to information through free access to computers and the Internet. Just what OLPC Nepal is attempting to do.
The 'magic pencil' that will write such plots is the XO-Laptop designed and developed by Nicholas Negroponte, co-founder and director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology media laboratory.
Now before you recoil in shock that a One Laptop per Child program that has Open Source as a key principal could be funded by the founder of Microsoft, remember that Nicholas Negroponte has said that Windows runs on the OLPC XO, so Bill and Nick may not be hating on each other anymore.
Add to that, Bruce Einhorn reports that Nicholas Negroponte might be making amends with the Intel Corporation too:
Negroponte has repeatedly criticized Intel for what he considers its hardball tactics. And yet the rivals may be ready to bury the hatchet: BusinessWeek has learned that Intel and OLPC executives are in talks regarding how they can work together.a dream perfect for July 4th, United States' Independence Day.
It's unclear what the cooperation might involve. It's also not certain the two programs - either individually or in some kind of joint venture - will improve education or succeed in spreading useful technology through the developing world.
A dream of little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers learning learning on the Children's Machine XO, regardless of processor, regardless of operating system.
A dream of children united in education, focused on improvement, for themselves and their country.
This is my dream. What is yours?