101 Things To Do

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...with a computer you can't get. Actually, you can again, through the Give One Get One campaign. But your children probably can't get them at school.

Regardless of that, even after the children get their laptops, they need your help to make the most of their new opportunities. I have tried most of these myself, and am working on several more. I'll add references and links to these topics from time to time.

Note: This Wiki does not support continuous numbering across sections. If you add up the number of items in each section, it will come to 101. Or more, when we add more. Please make suggestions on the discussion page first.


  1. Watch little children learn.
  2. Get some training, and assist little children to learn. I taught preschool multilingual music through Music Around the World.
  3. Try out Free Software applications such as OpenOffice on your current computer.
  4. Try Cygwin or Colinux on Windows.
  5. Try the OLPC LiveCd. It runs on any x86 computer, even a Macintosh.
  6. Try out Linux or BSD Unix (BSD comes free with Macs).
  7. Learn something on the Net that you previously knew nothing about.
  8. Pick a country, any country that you know next to nothing about, and bookmark the best references to it that you can find on the Net. Post this as a Web page or add it to a Wiki, and post a link to it on the OLPC Wiki (http://wiki.laptop.org).
  9. Join or start a book club, locally or on the Net, to discuss books about poverty and its causes and remedies.
  10. Learn to use some computer program or Internet resource, and teach it to others.
  11. Learn a language. The Internet offers unparalleled resources, in terms of textbooks, grammar references, dictionaries, literature, live broadcasts, podcasts, and chat. If you know more than one language, learn a language spoken mainly in a poor country.
  12. Teach a language, to the locals, to children of emigrants from your country, to immigrants into your country, on the Net.
  13. Read The Evolution of Cooperation and other books, papers and articles about the subject, and look for ways to apply it.
  14. Read Learned Helplessness, and look for ways to apply it.
  15. Read the UN Millennium Development Goals, and find one you know something about, or can otherwise help with. Contact people working on it.
  16. Read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and find one you know something about, or can otherwise help with. Contact people working on it.
  17. Read some of the Web sites that propose a number of new human rights. If you agree, work on one, or help define more. For example, Information, a Human Right of Children
  18. Join a mailing list on any of these issues: BytesForAll, Unicode, wireless communications, Free Software,...
  19. Attend religious events in languages you don’t know, whether of your religion or another. Get to know some of the people. If there aren’t any in your area, find some on the Internet that you can hear and see.
  20. Sign up for The Africa Channel on cable, or complain if your cable provider doesn’t offer it
  21. Listen to English-language news and other programming from other countries on radio, TV, or Internet.


  1. Write software
  2. Create keyboards
  3. Create fonts
  4. Write drivers
  5. Design the next generation Laptop
  6. Help implement telemedicine for the poor
  7. Help develop Appropriate Technology

Educational Materials

  1. Translate educational material, computer documentation, or literature into some language you know.
  2. Translate the literature of some language you know into English or some other world language. Include folk songs, religion, proverbs, and anything else considered important and not secret in that culture.
  3. Write Free documentation.
  4. Write Free textbooks.
  5. Put a piece of out-of-copyright literature online in any language.
  6. Find some kind of information that is missing from the Net, and find some people willing to help you put it there.
  7. Add content on this Wiki.
  8. Add content to Wikipedia.


  1. Test software.
  2. Test educational materials.

Working with People

  1. Get a group to adopt a school or class.
  2. Get a penpal.
  3. Invite a liberal activist and a conservative businessperson to discuss ending poverty at a profit together.
  4. Go to one of the countries and teach.
  5. Join the Peace Corps. They’ll train you to use a computer for development, and give you one to take with you. Then you get to train someone locally, and leave the computer there when your tour is up.
  6. Work on health for the poor.
  7. Take a working vacation at a poverty project.
  8. Or just take a regular vacation in a developing country, but pay attention to the people and not just the sights.
  9. Build schools.
  10. House a foreign student.
  11. Listen to music from poor regions. You can start with the Delta Blues and Old-Time Gospel.
  12. Contact immigrant communities near you and foreign workers where you work. Talk to them about what is needed and how you can help.
  13. Talk to the enemy. Depending on who you are, the enemy may be political, economic, social, religious, or something else. The enemy may be in your own country or any other country. There is a story that a Hindu asked Gandhi how to get over communal hatred. Gandhi counseled him to adopt a Muslim orphan of the communal Hindu/Muslim wars in India, and raise the child as his own—only to be sure to raise the child as a Muslim.

Spreading the Word

  1. Lobby Congress, the UN, or other governments to support OLPC.
  2. Lobby the movie and music video industries in your country to provide same-language captioning, karaoke-style, on all visual media, since this has been proven to be the most effective literacy intervention in India, starting with Bollywood musicals.
  3. Lobby against software patents.
  4. Lobby for shorter copyrights, and against copyright-based limitations on free speech (DMCA).
  5. Lobby major Internet sites and software vendors to support more languages and communities. Tell them to do it even if it isn’t profitable yet, because it will be.
  6. Complain about any software that doesn’t support Unicode.
  7. Work on creating a Free Market, with Freedom of Information as its founding principle.
  8. Set up a reading list on Amazon.
  9. Create a world music channel on Live365.
  10. Get your own locality to put in public wireless access.
  11. Write a song about poverty, or about fighting poverty, or just sing the old ones. “If livin’ was a thing that money could buy, Well, the rich would live and the poor would die.” “Hard times, come again no more.”
  12. Talk to local organizations about poverty, or if you already do that, talk to organizations with a wider reach, or get on radio and TV.
  13. Run for an office that has responsibility for such things.
  14. Blog your experiences.
  15. Write e-mails to the editors of publications that should cover these issues, or are covering them wrong.
  16. Tell your friends and neighbors.
  17. Create your own Web page.
  18. Lobby the US government to increase foreign aid from 0.2% of GDP to the 0.7% it made a commitment to.
  19. Lobby for effective family planning and disease prevention worldwide.


  1. Buy from the poor on eBay, Shopping.com, or Overstock.com.
  2. Help the poor sell on eBay, Shopping.com, or Overstock.com.
  3. Work for a microbank.
  4. Buy Fair Trade, Shade Grown/Bird Friendly, organic coffee. I recommend Trader Joe’s Ethiopian, but you can find other kinds at Whole Foods and other outlets, or on the Net.
  5. Find the computer training programs for the poor in your area, and hire a graduate, or get your company to hire one.
  6. Help me finish writing the business plan to end Poverty at a Profit.
  7. Fund my company to End Poverty at a Profit by helping to generate trillions of dollars in new economic activity around the world, or start your own.
  8. Create an e-commerce site for products from poor countries.
  9. Create an e-commerce site to sell to the no-longer-quite-so-poor who have benifited from OLPC, microbank, and other effective programs.
  10. Go into business with someone in a poor country.
  11. Join a microinsurance company.


  1. Join an NGO.
  2. Start an NGO.
  3. Involve your NGO in computer projects for others than schoolchildren.
  4. Donate money to your favorite poverty-related NGO.
  5. Donate to Michael Everson, who helps communities get their writing systems into the Unicode/ISO 10646-1 standard, and works on implementing them with full keyboard, font, and other software support.
  6. Donate to Partners in Health, both because their programs are uniquely effective, and because they are the major champions of health as a Human Right. Or volunteer.
  7. Donate to Grameen Foundation USA’s Village Computing Project, and to the similar work at Grameen Communications. Or volunteer.
  8. Donate to the Association of Dead People (Mrtak Sangh) in India, which helps people fraudulently declared dead. Or volunteer.
  9. Donate to the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement, which has the best-designed and most comprehensive plan for village development, and is the largest local organization working on tsunami recovery and warning systems.
  10. Take a job at a nonprofit/NGO.
  11. Volunteer at a local school, orphanage, halfway house, youth facility, prison, mental hospital, nursing home...and get to know some of the people by watching and listening. Ask questions and keep your preformed opinions out of the way.
  12. Join the anti-spam movement (also anti-phishing, anti-pharming, anti-identity theft).

Further work

  1. Help me analyze the economic results of ending poverty.
  2. Help me analyze the social consequences of ending poverty.
  3. Help me analyze the health consequences of ending poverty.
  4. Help me analyze the political consequences of ending poverty.
  5. Help me analyze the military consequences of ending poverty.
  6. Help me analyze the security consequences of ending poverty.
  7. Help me compile a history of poverty and attempts to deal with it.
  8. Help me put together a compendium of laws of all countries that interfere with alleviating poverty, including telecomm regulations, subsidies, price supports, import/export laws, censorship laws, and whatever else.