OUR MOTIVATION:CHILDREN AS AGENTS
Kiptenden PrimarySchool is located in Kiptenden Village, in the Nandi district- Rift Valley Kenya. The Village is one of the poorest villages and has the highest illiteracy level in Kenya, with most of the villagers having dropped out of school before completing High school education. Only 5/1000 people have made it to University. Kiptenden Primary School, is severely understaffed, has acute shortage of books and stationery and children are always under immense social, and financial pressure to drop out of school. The problem facing children’s education in villages is very real to us since two of our members grew up and have family in Kiptenden .
Our team is strongly convinced that children are important agents in society. The big question, then, is, “How can the success of the children as agents of development be brought about?” Do we let the children drop out of school, join drug dens, consume illicit brews, engage in dangerous sexual misadventures in this age of HIV/AIDS and perish, or do we groom them up, provide them with solid foundation that will propel them into greater heights of prosperity? We believe the traditional set-up where power, status and wisdom are associated with old age, where “children are to be seen not to be heard” is wrong, ill-conceived, and suppressive to children. We believe that society’s progress (or lack thereof), is a direct result and reflection of how we treat our children. With help from Baraton University Outreach Program and the Christian Intermediate Technology Center (CITC), we have been deeply involved with children emancipation programs in villages, ranging from volunteer teaching during college recess, mentoring, distributing books and mosquito nets to ensure they stay in good health and fundraising for those who proceed to high school and with OLPC’s help, we can raise the living standards Children further.
Children are always eager to learn and help others, often play important roles in households whereby older ones take care of their younger siblings, and since children often communicate and share more than adults, they are better positioned to pass on their knowledge from school to their families and thus influence the greater community. Moreover whatever children learn is more likely to be applied for the rest of their lives. Since children are the future parents and grandparents, they are important agents of change and thus the OLPC program is able to reach youth, society and future generations. Our society’s ultimate agent of change is the Child Brain Power! We believe that allowing children to work together with their peers will show them that they are themselves a source of knowledge: and besides having free access to networked computers will provide them with unlimited source of access to knowledge and helpers. With the programs in the XO laptops, children’s future couldn’t have looked any brighter. We believe that just like living a language is the best way to learn it, living math, English, Science, geography or history is the best way for children to learn them. The XO laptops will allow children to live their education. They can always work at their own pace, play around with the programs, look up info online, access online books that would’ve otherwise been unavailable to them. They can also write, share their stories, ideas, and questions with their peers worldwide. Most importantly, children can PLAY and have FUN commensurate with the age without endangering their lives in dangerous activities. Just as in adults, ownership is a very important aspect to children. Since Children will own their laptops and projects, they’ll have time to build personal relationships with their projects, discover, research and use programs not it because it’s computer time, or because it’s a Tuesday, or because the teacher said so, but because they are intrigued, and want to. Looks like life and education just got more FUN.