OLPC Pakistan XO Club

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Overview

  1. An OLPC pilot project was launched at Atlas Public School (a slum area school) on March 15, 2008. Although an understanding was made with the Principal to keep the school open during summer, and run an OLPC camp where the students may be able to devote more time to learning with and using their XO. However, the owner of the building has decided to shut down the school for “economically viable” activities. However, the devoted Principal is frantically searching for another space where the may be re-opened.
  2. As most children belong to extremely poor backgrounds, and are required to work to support their families, we decided to look for some of them at the local vegetable and fruit market near the slum area in order to update ourselves on their status and progress. With the help of some local merchants, the OLPC equipped children were not hard to find. We found four of these kids; Muhammad khan, Khayal Muhammad, Muhabbat Khan and Amir-u-llah. We were all excited to see each other. The little Fruit Market get-together was not only informative but emotional as well. As against local teaching methods and methodology, the children could not believe that we would take the effort to follow up with them. They said they never thought we would ever see us again because the owner of the building has closed the school forever.
  3. The children expressed their anger at the shutting down of the school by the owner of the property. They felt he was cruel to close a school meant for the slum dwellers. Despite their frustration, their determination to learn was still persistent. They said that they worked on their OLPC’s daily and carried it with them to work on when ever possible.
  4. The confidence on their faces was a true reflection of OLPC’s miraculous impact on children
  1. They claimed that their daily labor has not interrupted their use of OLPC. They use in what ever free time they get and share discoveries with each other and other friends.
  1. The children have taken the initiative to form a small XO Club where they meet up almost every evening at one of kid’s homes, in order to share new learnt knowledge, information, as well as help each other and other children who are new to OLPC.

XO Club Meeting

  1. We visited one of the XO Club sessions and spent time with children who were using their XOs there. Some had problem with the functioning of the mouse and speakers but generally they were all happy with the functioning of their machines.
  1. It is interesting to study these children’s learning curves, which have abruptly gone up even despite the absence of a constant supervisor, teacher or instructor. They spend most of their free time using their XOs. Favorite activities include painting and composing music and sharing their compositions with their friends and family.
  2. Amir-u-llah who sells onions and tomatoes at the fruit market has composed pictures of OLPC Laptop in paint activity on his XO. They are:
XO image by Amir-ullah

In Conclusion:

OLPC, has enabled children to over come learning challenges posed by harsh living conditions, poverty, and the non-availability of a “school.” Despite such conditions, learning through OLPC has not been hampered. In this case, seizure of a school for the poor hasn’t affected children’s urge to learn at all, rather the use of the OLPC has triggered learning and the passion for learning has greatly enhanced!

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