"Kids in developing nations are starving...maybe meeting their basic needs (food and shelter) should be your focus."I wrote an answer on the page, and then thought you all might be interested, and might have something worthwhile to say.
I agree about the problem of starvation and malnutrition. And about the problems of war, disease, oppression, land mines, slavery, and all the others that deny our children livelihoods, health and even life. They are not in question. The question is not even what you and I individually should do.
It is what we all should be doing. And that means everything, not just a bit here and a bit there. It also doesn't mean that we should work on only one part of the solution. Someone needs to focus on immediate survival issues of food, health, water, war, and other troubles of the poor. If that's you, thank you. We need more of you.
OLPC is About Education
And somebody needs to focus on education in order to break the cycle of poverty. That's us. We need more of us, too. It isn't either/or, it's both/and. It would cost billions of dollars to feed every undernourished child as soon as possible, and the money is not forthcoming from governments or private donors. I wish it were.
We know that part of the problem for potential donors is that feeding the hungry day by day is only a temporary fix, with no end in sight. It will cost billions of dollars to educate children so that they can get jobs or create agricultural innovations to feed their communities. The money is starting to come forth because this addresses the roots of poverty.
One of the reasons that this motivates donors is that it promises to end poverty at a profit all around, so that we won't have to depend on donations to expand to every child on Earth. I could show you a pro forma spreadsheet of the kind of calculations a government has to make in order to decide that the laptop program will pay for itself from tax revenues on new businesses, even at the relatively high interest rates charged to governments in developing countries.
Only do what only you can do
Earth Treasury proposes to speed up the process, increasing Return on Investment and shortening the payback period, by teaching children how to connect around the world and go into business together. As to what you and I should do, computer scientist Edsger Dijkstra has a suggestion that I find helps to clarify matters for me: "Only do what only you can do."
Most of us in the laptop project wouldn't be very effective at direct food aid. We find, however, that we are very effective at what we are doing, and nobody else comes close. Please ask yourself what you know that the children need to know, and come to the Wiki to tell us about it.
If you happen to be good at food aid or agriculture or nutrition, speak up and we will give you every assistance to get your program out to the children and their communities. Because collaboration on discovering now solutions is what the laptop is all about.