Your XO Laptop is Needed for São João Secondary School


100 laptops, 600 kids.

That's where the São João Secondary School in São Tomé e Príncipe is right now. I'm Beth Santos, and when I arrived there as an OLPC volunteer in October of 2009, I helped start a program that made use of the laptop donation they had received that spring. Six months later, the program is going strong, propelled entirely by the 5 teachers teachers and 100 participating students at the school and with little outside assistance.

A recent email from computer teacher Miguel explained that, in the six months of classes held, students have not lost their excitement or their initiative - in fact, their interest in the program is only increasing everyday.

But the school is still painfully low on computers.

Working under the local NGO, STeP UP (São Tomé e Príncipe Union for Promotion) I will be heading there in June of this year to help the first successful school year of using XO laptops come to a close. I am also hoping to bring more computers down so I can guide teachers in expanding the program.

Partnering with Squeakland, I will be offering classes in Etoys in a summer program this year, providing teachers with payment and students with a free lunch everyday (teachers are paid by the government over the school year but not over the summertime). I'll also be running repair classes so that teachers can learn to fix computers by themselves (a big problem at the school right now).

Currently, computer classes are held once per week, as the lack of computers prevents them from being used during the school day until all students have equal access. Summer classes will likely be held everyday for at least one month.

How you can help

People have been generously donating their used XOs and their finances to help the São João School acquire enough computers to accomplish their goal of having enough computers for all students in the sixth grade.

If you would like to donate your XO or help fund the summer program, please see how you can help me. All donations are tax-deductible. STEP UP OLPC is also looking for used netbook computers and USB flash drives to provide its teachers with if you don't have an XO laptop but would still like to help.


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