By Jami Miedema

Imagine trying to function in today’s world with only a fifth-grade education.  That’s the reality for one-third of the children in developing countries.  While thousands of dollars are allocated per student per year in the United States, approximately $20 per student is allocated for schooling in developing countries, putting those children at a serious disadvantage when it comes to education.  But building more schools and hiring more qualified teachers will only solve part of the problem they are experiencing.

In the increasingly global economy, a nation’s ability to compete is affected by the education of its people and their capacity to reach markets worldwide.  The computer is a useful means for both these essentials.  A foundation that acknowledges the importance that computers play in the learning process is One Laptop Per Child (OLPC).  The group was founded in 2005 and has been on a mission to invest in children’s education overseas ever since.

According to OLPC’s website, the organization’s goal is “to provide children around the world with new opportunities to explore, experiment, and express themselves.”  To reach this objective they developed the new XO laptop, which costs under $200, and will soon decrease in price.  They are rechargeable by hand and do not require much power.  Mass production of the laptop was begun this month by Quanta Computer, Inc.  The company will be manufacturing around 250,000 of the computers by year’s end and will produce approximately 1 million per month next year to benefit children in Libya, Peru, Uruguay, and several other countries.  This program will allow developing countries to invest in their children’s educations and ultimately their futures as rising nations.

The new XO laptops are available for purchase in North America through the Give One Get One program.  If an individual buys the laptop to donate to a child overseas, he can also purchase one for himself – all for under $400 dollars!  One Laptop Per Child is truly a tool to change children’s lives, giving them the chance to explore and learn about the world around them, and eventually contribute ideas to better their society and the world.

Source: One Laptop Per Child. Retrieved November 26, 2007, from