Italy is considering to donate special laptops to 50,000 school children in Ethiopia, aides to Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi reconfirmed last week in Rome, during meetings with Nicholas Negroponte, chairman and founder of the One Laptop Per Child project (OLPC).
People involved with the OLPC hope Prodi's support for their project will be an example for other European countries. "The importance of this funding is exemplary," Walter Bender, president for software and content development of the OLPC, writes in a post to the OLPC mailing list. At the presentation in Rome "everybody understood children are our mission, not a market," writes Bender. "That was refreshing."
The OLPC is a non profit organisation aiming to accommodate school children outside of the first world with durable laptops, educational software and Internet connectivity. The project wants to provide children learning opportunities that would remain unavailable otherwise.
The low-power computers are fitted with flash memory and use the Open Source operating system GNU/Linux. Each laptops currently costs about 188 US dollar. If more countries sign up, the OLPC expects the price to drop to around a 100 US dollar next year.
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- OLPC web site
OLPC community reports (in English)
- Unita news item (in Italian)
- New York Times news item