Raspberry Pi Computer Lab

The students of rural Swaziland need the skills and education to improve their own lives. Let's help provide them with one of the many tools they need.
Piers Duffell
4 Team Members


Development takes time. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to sustain one's self and it takes even more energy to adapt, change, and grow. This is part of the reason why this lab has taken far longer than forecasted to set up. The second and largest reason the lab has taken so long to set up is my own naivety, a naivety bred into me by the western world and the global north. In the time between drafting this campaign and now, nearly a year later, I have come to recognize the priorities, pace of life, and standards of development that I took with me into this project.  Had I known then what I know now, I would have worked harder to adapt to the standards of the people the project sought to benefit. Development takes time; it's a process.
The computers have arrived safe and sound, several teachers and staff members have been taught how to use them, how to maintain the lab, and how to teach students to use the computers. The Sidvokodvo Nazarene Primary School has also stepped up their commitment by dedicating a brand new classroom to the computers and any more that will follow this seedling of a computer lab. Unfortunately the completion of the lab will come after I have left the area, so in the mean time I would like to share some photos of the structure being built and burglar proofed and some lessons taking place in a temporary classroom.

Half of grade 6A playing TuxType in pairs or solo.

Buyile and her friend absolutely not demonstrating how to use the home keys, but having fun and learning nevertheless.

This picture was taken moments before the final level was beat.

The school displays it's long term commitment to computer literacy; burglar proof bars welded onto windows and large desks are in place to provide a safe and conducive learning environment.

An external view of the computer lab. Work is still in progress.
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.

Answer: True!

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 live 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...

after 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-Pi-Lapdock-Connection/ 


raised by 62 people in 1 month
126% funded
No time left
$2,550 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on September 10, 2013
Select a Perk
  • $10USD

    First level supporters will receive the first email ever written by a student and will include a personal photo!

    18 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2014
  • $50USD
    10GB level

    Second level supporters will receive the first level perk as well as a personalized thank you song, sung by students - future pop stars, gospel artists, and very talented kids.

    10 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2014
  • $75USD
    50GB level

    Third level supporters will receive first and second level perks as well as a unique thank you video of students showing you their new skills!

    2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2014
  • $150USD
    1TB level

    Fourth Level supporters will receive first, second, and third level perks as well as the honor of having their name or message displayed permanently at the lab as our sincere thanks.

    6 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2014
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