OLPCorps Gettysburg College South Africa

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Aimee George '09 georai01@gettysburg.edu: Double major in Political Science & Globalization Studies. Double Minor in Peace and Justice Studies & Philosophy.
Spent July-December 2007 on her semester abroad at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa.
Megan Graham '09 grahme01@gettysburg.edu: Double Major in Globalization Studies & Health Sciences.
Spent July-November 2007 on her semester abroad in Kampala, Uganda.
Anna Springer '09sprian01@gettysburg.edu: Major in Sociology.
Spent July-December 2007 on her semester abroad at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa.

Gettysburg Alum presently at Rhodes University, Grahamstown:
Stephanie Bonnes '07: Pursuing graduate degree in International Relations.
Andrew Stinson '07: Pursuing graduate degree in International Relations.


Grahamstown, South Africa. Located in the eastern cape.

<googlemap version="0.9" lat="-33.309801" lon="26.52812" zoom="14"></googlemap>

Participating Institutions:

Gettysburg College, Pennsylvania, USA. -- Center for Public Service
Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa -- Centre for Social Development

Communities Served:

St. Mary's Daycare & Community Centre: 87 children from the township, 70 of whom are ages 6-12. Children are part of the After-School program
Mariya uMama weThemba  : 16 children from the township, 11 of whom are from the ages 6-12. Children are part of the After-School program

Languages Spoken:

English is primarily used in Grahamstown. Afrikaans and Xhosa are the other widely spoken languages in the area


June onwards. School will be in session during project implementation

Project Summary:

Project Purpose:
Through the use of technology, increase the awareness of pertinent social issues that affect the children’s community and foster civic participation.

Summary: Rhodes University and Gettysburg College have an institutional affiliation. Gettysburg College students have consistently studied abroad at Rhodes, forming a strong relationship between the two institutions. In an effort to ensure the longevity of this initiative, the Center for Public Service (CPS) at Gettysburg College supports our team and any other Gettysburg students who desire to work in Grahamstown in the future. Our local partner is the Centre for Social Development (CSD) at Rhodes which serves indigent communities in the area. Once our team leaves at the end of the summer, CSD will take on the administrative roles and ensure that there are volunteers who can maintain the project along with Gettysburg students on their semester abroad. CSD will also be in charge of handling technical needs, such as setting up a server, through the support of the Rhodes Department of Computer Science. Through this partnership, Gettysburg and Rhodes will provide the manpower and student-run fundraising necessary to sustain the project.
We have volunteered at St Mary’s in the past, and believe that they are a perfect candidate for the XOs. St Mary’s is an established non-profit organization in Grahamstown. It is a haven for 87 of the poorest school children in the Township. These children live at home but have meals at St Mary’s, engage in organized after-school activities and have their homework supervised. We will provide a computer to each of the 87 children, 70 of whom are between the ages of 6 to 12. CSD has also identified Mariya uMama weThemba, a second after-school center, which has 16 children from similar backgrounds who would greatly benefit from this initiative.

The Perfect Fit: Children at these two centers return home and must immediately take on adult responsibilities. With the implementation of OLPC, the children will have the opportunity to unwind, as children should, and enjoy creative learning opportunities. The responsibility of owning their individual laptops is an emotional and positive reinforcement that provides the children with a sense of self-worth. By entrusting the children with laptops, it reaffirms that others have faith in their potential and wish to help them explore their untapped talents. We will work to cultivate civic participation among the youth and inspire the children to engage in community development. Empowering the young to believe they can make a change through civic involvement will be a learning experience that keeps on giving.

Specific Activities: In order to achieve our goals of fostering civic participation, we will create lesson plans pertinent to the children’s social environment. These lessons will be implemented as part of the after-school care program at the centers. For example, exploring the issue of water sanitation will promote awareness about the importance of protecting the environment and healthy living. Our lessons will utilize hands on elements which are reinforced by information gathering and activities on the laptops. Researching issues beyond Grahamstown will bring the world to the students and allow them to envision infinite possibilities beyond their bounds of poverty. This is a unique opportunity to infuse variety into their learning as they have never used laptops before. Relating these components will be a powerful learning tool as they connect the information accessed to their surroundings.
We believe in the constructionist pedagogical model where children learn-by-doing and are both the teachers and learners. Older students will research a chosen topic, using ‘WikiBrowse’ and ‘Write,’ and lead younger children in an interactive manner. This mentorship role is integral in building a strong community. Our role will be to facilitate the process of learning and engagement. Ultimately, the children will learn from each other.

Short-Term Goals:
• Implement a civic education program for the children.
• Instill a pride in ownership which fosters personal responsibility
• Nurture an excitement and desire to learn

Long-Term Goals:
• Allow the children to re-envision the possibilities for their lives
• Collaborate to build a strong community
• Nurture leaders among the group who will be contributors to society
• Encourage volunteers to use their technical skills to serve their community


Team Gettysburg

Flights $6,598 2 * Washington DC to Kigali to Grahamstown

2 * Grahamstown to DC
(The 3rd group member will already be in Grahamstown)

Travel Insurance $210 For 3 members
Visas $0 Free for entry less than 90 days
Vaccinations/ Medication $450 Malaria medication for 3 members
Food $1,500 For 3 members
Accommodation $880 At a lower rate, as we will live with community members
Local Travel $200 Gas and local transportation
Total for Gettysburg Team $9,838

Needs for Local Community

Internet Access and Electricity $700 Setting up internet access, with an initial 6 months of subscriptions and also help with the local partners’ electricity bills. We will determine progress after this juncture.
3 Additional XOs $597 3 more laptops, for 103 children in all
School Supplies $300 Materials for activities with the children
Miscellaneous Expenses $500 For emergency needs
Total for Local Community $2,097

Total Funds Required

In-Kind Support $1,935 From donations and grants through Gettysburg College, such as the Karl Mattson Service Grant
OLPCorps Africa Grant $10,000 Budget to be invested into sustaining the program
TOTAL $11,935

Longevity of Project:

We believe that the strength of our project lies in the invested collaboration between Gettysburg College and Rhodes University. Even after our project members graduate in May 2009, the Center for Public Service (CPS) at Gettysburg and the Centre for Social Development (CSD) at Rhodes, have agreed to work together in a partnership that ties our institutions. The strength of CSD in the local community, and the sustained presence of Gettysburg students who study abroad at Rhodes would ensure that there are necessary volunteers and fund-raising capacities to ensure the sustainability of this project.

Furthermore, both the Gettysburg and Rhodes Departments of Computer Science and Rhodes University Computer Users Society would provide the necessary technical assistance to trouble-shoot and resolve any technical difficulties that may arise over the course of the project implementation.