A Technoliday: Laptops For The Kids

Last night the DC tech community celebrated the holidays and raised money to send 14 laptops to kids around the third world and the District.

Partygoers check out one of the laptops being distributed in the One Laptop Per Child Project. (Photo by Nick Strocchia)

About 100 people attended the "Technoliday Party" at Lotus Lounge in the District, which benefited One Laptop per Child, an non-profit organization working to distribute $100 laptops so disadvantaged children can jump the digital divide.

"There's just so much to be said about technology and what kids can do with it," said Rana Sobhany, one of the event's organizers and a partner at tech startup RoleShare. Peter Corbett, chief executive of the Internet marketing consultancy iStrategyLabs also helped to organize the event. "It's going to change everything for them."

For every $200 donation, One Laptop per Child sends a laptop to a child in a developing nation and another to the contributor.

So by the end of the night -- after all the sushi was gone and the open bar had closed -- seven laptops were on their way abroad and seven were headed to the District. The laptops shipped to Technoliday Party organizers will be distributed to DC youths by Greater DC Cares.

One Laptop per Child was founded two years ago by Nicholas Negroponte, a professor at the Massachusettes Institute of Technology, who dreamed of distributing computers to 150 million of the world's poorest schoolchildren. Today the organization has started mass producing its neon green laptops, which are about the size of a textbook. The laptop can be either solar or foot powered by a crank, pedal or pull cord. It's dust-proof, energy efficient and even has wireless Internet.

-- Kendra Marr

By Dan Beyers  |  December 7, 2007; 4:26 PM ET
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

I just purchased a laptop for a child, but it cost me $400 not $200!! What's going on here???

Posted by: Dian Demmer | December 8, 2007 7:16 AM

@Dian - That's the deal; you pay $400, you get a laptop and a child in a developing nation gets one, too. The Technoliday party also paid $400, but since we were donating everything we got anyway, it's like getting two for one... which it really is for everyone, as long as they value that the OLPC project is donating one of your two automatically.

Posted by: Matt | December 8, 2007 12:00 PM

14... FOURTEEN... WOW! Hold on... yes, it said 14!

That's 14 out of 4 billion! WOW!

Pat yourselves on the back... 14, WOW!

No stable environment, no steady income BUT WOW, they now have Laptops!


Posted by: One per... ? | December 8, 2007 12:59 PM

This effort is great. I saw a film where in developing countries vans that are equipped with computers go to different schools and teach the children about computers. These laptops will represent a hope for a steady income.

Posted by: Shashi Bellamkonda | December 8, 2007 2:51 PM

Matt.....Sorry I do not follow your logic!! But am never-the -less pleased to be part of this project although at an inflated price.

Posted by: Dian Demmer | December 10, 2007 7:59 AM

A great party and a great cause.

@ the sarcastic commenter who said 14 of billion. Progress is made one step at a time, 14 of a billion or even two billion is still a step forward from 0 so I would not be so forward as to demean this fine effort.

and technology such as these laptops do make a difference! Many places which have no stable environment/stable income have been improved by cell phones which make possible convenient telecommunications. Local farmers can now more more easily find buyers for goods by making a quick phone call instead of having spend a day traveling to the nearest town. Capabilities provided by these laptops have the potential to do even more good.

Posted by: LuckyTommy | December 11, 2007 2:42 AM

The "Nay-sayers" are right....The underprivledged children of the world don't need the computer I sent as much as they need the food,that they did not send.

Posted by: jimsteckbauer | December 12, 2007 10:55 PM

My original though was that clean water is more important to children than a laptop in a third world country. However, when I think of my poor childhood in Vietnam, I was hungry for information/knowledge. I guess one can't live with just water!

I hope the XO laptop program will be successful, at least for the reason that my $200 wouldn't be wasted.

Posted by: Luan Do | December 12, 2007 11:04 PM

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