At Kids on Computers, we’ve spent a lot of time and energy getting computers to kids that have no access to technology. Many of these places (rural Mexico, Africa, India) have cell phones before they have phone lines or even power. (The second time you blow the power for an entire school trying to set up a couple of computers, you realize how much we take power for granted in developing countries.)
So the new devices coming out right now are really exciting.
These devices, using open source software and open web technologies are going to bring the web – and the world – to more people everywhere.
Disclaimer: I work at Mozilla. At Mozilla we are working on making sure everyone has access to the web and that it stays open and accessible for everyone.
Hermes and a student. Hermes is a local volunteer who with a few of his friends maintains all the labs in the area!
Kids on Computers is planning a Kids on Computers Summit in May in Huajuapan de Leon and we need your help!
We have had a lot of success setting up labs in the Huajuapan de Leon area and getting local community involved. Our first school, 18 de Marzo, counts on a lot of parental support. They built the building for the lab and a library and their school has gone from one of the least desirable to one of the most respected. We’ve also set up labs in a school for kids with disabilities and in a boarding school for girls from difficult situations. And we’ve gotten equipment donations from local banks.
The school at Savcitlan de Morelos in the mountains. They have computers but nobody to help them get them set up.
Now what we need is people to help! We have several schools with computers but nobody to set them up. Schools with labs but not much know how. We have local people helping but their time is stretched thin and they could use some help!
We are going down the week of May 23rd to:
- Take down some new equipment.
- Set up computers in new labs.
- Replace broken equipment in existing labs.
- Teach kids and teachers.
- Update software, add things like Wikipedia in Spanish to the computers in a school without internet yet.
- Show excitement, drum up support.
- Thank all the local people and organizations that have helped.
So we need you! There are all sorts of tasks and we need people that can do any one of the following. (No need to be able to do them all.)
The new building they made for the computers in Savcitlande Morelos. Adults will be able to use the computers in the evenings.
- Plug in computers, turn them on, make sure they work.
- Create logins, install software.
- Swap out a fan or a hard drive.
- Setup networking.
- Speak Spanish and translate for other volunteers that don’t speak Spanish.
- Talk to teachers about how computers can be integrated into education.
- Run errands, stick Spanish key stickers on American keyboards, clean up cables, pick up boxes, …
- Use a computer and show someone else how to use a mouse and start a game.
So there is something for everyone and we could use your help! We had a great time on our last trip and we are all looking forward to this one.
Let me know if you’d like to join us. We’d love to have your help!
The first grade class at 18 de Marzo, our first school lab
Sewing at girls' school in Santo Domingo, Oaxaca. Photo by Thomas Peters.
Kids on Computers folks have been busy, especially Hermes and Thomas and others in Oaxaca. In the past few months we’ve set up labs in a school for kids with disabilities and a boarding school for girls – both in small towns in Oaxaca, Mexico.
The lab for the kids with disabilities will also help their parents who will now be able to do research on the web both on their kids’ health and also on government resources that might be available.
Hermes and one of the students. They were all delighted to get to use a computer! Photo belongs to Hermes.
The lab in the girls’ school will enable them to learn skills for a whole new range of jobs. Right now they learn skills like sewing and hair dressing in addition to normal school subjects to learn skills that might help them find a job.
Some of the computers were donated locally. Some by individuals, some by companies. Some, those that are in the girls’ school, came from Partimus. Some came from individuals that donated through System76.
Dormitory at the girls' school. Photo by Thomas Peters.
Thanks to everyone who helped bring technology, open source software and the internet to these kids. I’m looking forward to meeting them online.
The next schools will be in Mexico, Zambia and India.
I got back from GUADEC and was ecstatic to find a letter from the IRS saying that Kids on Computers is officially a US federal 501(c)(3) organization!!!
It’s retroactive to February 25, 2009. (We have been a Colorado nonprofit since our start but this gives us federal status.)
Having 501(c)(3) status will enable us to qualify for more grants and programs targeted at nonprofit organizations. It also helps establish people’s trust (they know you are doing a public good) and enables some people to deduct their donation from the money they pay taxes on.
Many thanks to Serena Robb who filled out all the paperwork for us! It was her first time filling out a 501(c)(3) federal application and she did a lot of research to make sure she got it right.
Kids on Computers needs a new web design. If we get it soon, we have a really cool hardware donation program that System76 is willing to launch with us for Christmas. (We also have 30 computers coming from Partimus that will go to schools in Mexico!)
Thanks, everyone, who has offered to help! I think we have lots of great potential and an awesome team!
Right now the website is pretty ugly. It's just a WordPress blog that I set up:
We had a web designer that created this for us, but she doesn't have time to implement it: (The logo was designed by Yolanda Castillo.)
If you know of someone that could help, point them our way. (They don't have to work with this design.)
We are happy to give credit or help out with LinkedIn recommendations or recommendations with future clients. Or with thank you letters from the kids written on the first computers they've ever gotten to use!
It'd be a great Christmas present.