Gaza and the West Bank get special XOs from OLPC through the UN council on refugees.
OLPC has been actively developing projects in the Middle East since 2009 following an introductory conference in January of that year in Amman, Jordan. OLPC had come to the attention of NGOs and UN agencies in the region following a collaboration with the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) to deliver 1000 G1G1-funded XOs to the Ministry of Education in the West Bank. At the conference OLPC and United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) entered into a partnership to deploy a further 6000 G1G1-funded XOs in Gaza and the West Bank.
Together with the Palestinian Authority, UNRWA and OLPC have a shared vision to bring XO laptops and new learning opportunities to all children in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The distribution of XO laptops in the UNRWA schools is fundamental to the OLPC Foundation’s mission to reach the most isolated and remote children around the world, especially those who have been displaced by war, oppressed by poverty, and marginalized by circumstances beyond their control.
On April 29, 2010 UNRWA and OLPC celebrated the launch of 2100 XOs in Gaza at Rafah Co-Ed Elementary School D. These XOs, which children immediately personalized by writing their names on them, have been distributed primarily in grades 1-3 in 22 UNRWA schools. The event and ribbon cutting ceremony was presided over by Nicholas Negroponte and UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi and included a school tour with over 200 parents and community leaders. UNRWA presented a detailed over-view of their OLPC program [link to scans of materials] including the development of technical support, learning content, parent participation and teacher preparation.
OLPC and UNRWA later launched 500 XOs in the Amari Boys and Girls Schools in Ramallah in the West Bank. These XOs arrived in late April and were distributed to incoming 1-3 graders through a special program in July 2010. The UNRWA West Bank Core Team also worked with its colleagues in Gaza to prepare for this distribution.
OLPC has been working to build a network to support OLPC projects in the region. More recently the Palestinian Educational Initiative has taken on implementation support and programmatic development for the 1000 XOs that had been previously donated to the MoEHE. Their leadership has also lead to the development of PaleXO, a growing and energetic group of OLPC volunteers based around Birzeit University. The team has visited several schools including those in Budrus, Nablus and Bethlehem and plans to host a Scratch Day. PaleXO will be working with UNRWA and OLPC in the Amari school, and is recruiting new members and working to establish a similar group in Gaza. OLPC and UNRWA efforts are also being supported by the Jordanian Hashemite Charity Organization and Hope & Play.
OLPC is working to build relationships and secure funding in order to provide one laptop per child for all the children in Israel, Gaza, the West Bank, and all UNRWA in the Middle East. We are proud to be working with authorities and NGOs in all the countries to help advance this goal. There is great interest, locally and globally, to support the education, well-being, and peaceful futures of the over 2 million 6-12 year olds living in the region. The project will require a dramatic investment in laptops and capacity. If you are interested in contributing to the significant effort needed to make this mission a reality for them, please contact robert at laptop dot org.