True or False: For less than the cost of two MacBooks, an entire school can gain access to a computer lab for the first time.
Using low cost components and free software a fully functioning computer laboratory of ten computers can be set up in rural Swaziland, where many students currently make do without.
Thank you for your interest in developing world computing.
My name is Piers Duffell and I am an American volunteer living in Swaziland. This campaign seeks to benefit the Sidvokodvo Nazarane Primary School. Let me introduce you to some of the students who will benefit from this lab.
Here are some of the fifth grade students before a lesson...
...and here they are after a lesson...
… and here are some very patient seventh graders gathering round their teacher.
This school is typical of many rural schools in Swaziland.The students here are far behind their urban peers in all subjects: many students are four or more grades behind in reading, writing, and mathematics but the system pushes these students to the next grade, where they find themselves even more unprepared and fall further behind. The few students who graduate are unprepared for much outside of subsistence farming and those that do not graduate have even fewer opportunities. To make matters worse, according to school records half of the 630 students of Sidvokodvo Nazarene Primary School are single or double orphans. Many children live in child-headed households and are thrust into the difficult position of raising children while still only children themselves. With an estimated unemployment rate of three in four adults nationally and the world's highest prevalence rate of HIV, the students in rural Swaziland are left uneducated, poverty stricken, and in danger. Their future is bleak.
Why a computer lab?
Establishing a Raspberry Pi computer lab will help to address the inequality my students are faced with on global and national levels. The Rapsberry Pi computer is appropriate for this campaign because it is inexpensive, uses very little electricity, will run Linux (reducing the need for costly proprietary software), typing tutorial and word processing programs, and can even expose children to programming – an increasingly valuable skill in our increasingly digital world. The lab will also be used to provide the students with offline versions of Wikipedia for research, the Khan Academy for mathematics, as well as serve as a creative and recreational outlet for students, which are currently nonexistent. I will function as a computer teacher for the students and will train my own replacement so that even when I leave, the project will subsist and continue to give the students of Sidvokodvo Nazarane Primary School a future they can look forward to, a brighter future made possible by your contributions.
And that’s all there is to it.
Here is what the finished product will look like. The first picture shows the front view and the second pictures shows the rear view with the exposed Raspberry Pi computer.
How will funding be used?
In order to establish a Raspberry Pi computer lab equipped with 10 computers and spare parts the lab will need $2550. I have chosen the Raspberry Pi based on its low cost (the cheapest computer in the world!) and versatility. In order to reduce costs further I have chosen a Motorola Astrix dock to replace separate keyboards, mice, and monitors. The docks need several inexpensive components in order to function with the Raspberry Pi.
What is the value of this campaign?
This project is valuable because it will help to bridge the global digital divide in a very sustainable way. For less than the cost of a couple MacBooks an entire school of 630 underprivileged students can be provided with a functioning computer lab. The lab will have access to an ecosystem of free and open source software thanks to Linux based computing and I will personally train my replacement to set up, utilize, and maintain the computer lab.
100% of funding, whether above or below the fundraising goal, will go towards this campaign. Receipts and invoices will be provided under the updates tab.
For a transparent look at where the funding goes, please click here:
http://goo.gl/OyR6M If the entire goal is not met the computer lab will have to reduce its total number of computers. If the goal is exceeded additional computers will be purchased.
What's in it for me?
Perks for supporters vary according to contribution. In order to use funds for only the essentials and to provide a learning opportunity for the students and trainee computer teachers, all perks will be digital and digitally delivered.
There are more ways to help than just supporting this campaign financially. Spread the word to your friends, colleagues, communities, and families to help ensure this campaign is a success. Social media and Indiegogo share tools are both valuable tools to help get the word out!
Thank you again for your support, on behalf of the students and faculty of Sidvokodvo Nazarane Primary School: Siyabonga, Siyabonga kakhlu (We thank you, we thank you very much).
Got a question, suggestion, or concern? Please email me at SwaziPi@gmail.com or call +268.7831.6724.
Raspberry Pi logo from the Rasberry Pi Foundation at www.raspberrypi.org/
Photos of assembled Lap Dock from http://www.instructables.com/id/The-Raspberry-P...