OLPCorps TexasStateUniversity-SanMarcos Morocco
This draft was submitted by Otha Graham, looking for proposal feedback. Ohta can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, or post your feedback on this page's corresponding talk page.
Morocco is one of the most culturally dynamic places on the planet, from its rich Muslim tradition arriving centuries ago on camels through the Trans-Saharan trade, the nomadic Berber people roaming its breathtaking countryside, and to the recent French occupation of the 20th century. Moroccans colloquially speak an Arabic dialect known as Darija, as well as French in most business settings, and often English due to tourism being Morocco’s main industry, making it a truly “globalized” nation. Yet, Moroccans struggle mightily to compete on the world stage, as they lack development and deal with extreme poverty, which invites a myriad of social and economic problems, leaving a once proud people disillusioned. This has led to 50% illiteracy in the country, girls from poor families often being sold into servitude to make a wage, and public schools promoting trade work, local economic positioning for students, and zero opportunities for a university education in Europe or the United States.
Fez, (the fourth largest city in Morocco) will be empowered by the opportunity to interact, learn, and contribute locally, regionally, and most importantly globally by the influx of 100 OLPC laptops. Fez is considered the most conservative city in a 99% Muslim country, with rigid religious, social, and economic expectations. Social constraints have made it very difficult for women to express themselves as most are forced to leave school at 13. Economically, Fez boasts the largest medina in the world, which forces their commerce to run through a dusty street instead of Wall Street. Fez is situated in the middle of the Atlas Mountains, but in spite of its rough geography, Fez operates as the cultural barometer for the rest of the country (much like New York City). Introducing 100 OLPC laptops to a city that has such influence, has the potential to shift the entire country of Morocco out of its uninvolved, disillusioned, and nostalgia-laden cultural mindset, onto a competing global stage where integrated technologies and ideas/concepts meet their full potential for the betterment of humanity.
Through partnership between Amicitia American School and the 100 OLPC laptops, the city of Fez will tangibly take the first steps towards a new era of self-responsibility, freedom, and future. Amicitia American School serves almost 200 students, grades K-12 (most between ages 6-12), with 85% being local Moroccans. The school only charges 25% of what a normal American school in Morocco would charge, with many of its students being on scholarship. Amicitia partners with the University of Texas – Austin in providing a legitimate American diploma for graduates, which opens the doors for Moroccans to attend universities around the world. With the laptops, Amicitia is going to establish an on-line school newspaper that will connect the students to the world, giving them an outlet for their art/music (Amicitia has creative arts programs), and allowing students to create something that demands their free expression in a culture that often communicates their wants, dreams, and desires for them. Amicitia also has a deep desire to influence the poor schools around the region, hoping to be a liaison for underprivileged schools in the outlying villages surrounding Fez. Aside from the newspaper and the improvements on other schools in the region, the computers will allow students to avoid internet cafes that charge by the minute, give them a never-ending journal for the them to develop thought, and place the world at their fingertips.
Logistically, the children will be in summer school June-August, providing ample time to enter the classroom for computer training and follow-up. As a Texas certified teacher, with extensive experience working with children of all ages and disabilities, I will design all lessons and set summative evaluations of the children’s progress. I have accepted a teaching position with Amicitia that will place me there for the next two years, allowing me to oversee and improve any projects or initiatives that the students might entertain with their laptops in the foreseeable future. The school itself is under 24-hour guard and will house the 230 kg of new computer technology. The children often speak English, but Amicitia employs many local Moroccans who can easily translate, this along with language classes and the fact that I will be a resident of the country for the next few years should bridge the language gap. Financially, the school will be able to support most initiatives due to the tuition that the students pay, along with other money that the school brings in through its business forum and English language school.
Airfare: $4,000 X2 = $8,000 (Expedia.com)
- Houston to Kigali June 7--- $1,500
- Kigali to Fez June 18 --- $1,500
- Fez to Houston August 13 --- $1,000
Food: $300 X2 = $600 (Groceries and dining)
Lodge: $300 X2 = $600 (Renting an apartment)
Vaccines: $210 X2 = $420
- Yellow Fever: $84
- Typhoid: $52
- Malaria: $10
- Hep A: $29
- Pneumonia: $35
Miscellaneous Expenses: $190 X2 = $380
- Medical Expenses (band-aides)