OLPC Computers for Palestinian Refugee Children

May 03, 2010

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has instituted a three-year program together with Sugar Labs and the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program.

Half a million Palestinian refugee children are already receiving daily education under the auspices of the United Nations agency, reported a representative of the UNRWA. The children are in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. Over the next three years, laptops should become available to them loaded with Sugar, an operating system especially developed to serve children and education.

Start page of the Sugar platform in Arabic.

"A laptop will be a huge contribution to bridging the technology and knowledge gap in one of the most troubled regions of the world," said UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness. The project is successor to the Palestine Education Initiative, which distributed 1,000 XO laptops in Palestinian schools in 2009. The initiative was a cooperative effort between Sugar Labs and the local education and IT ministry.

Last year Palestinian schools received a thousand laptops from a cooperative education and IT effort.

The Sugar project and the U.N. will be adapting the current UNRWA education plan to the Sugar Learning Platform and instruct local teachers in it. The UNRWA, by its own report, is financed almost completely by voluntary contributations from the U.N. member states and welcomes the Sugar project collaboration.

Further details on the OLPC project and additional UNRWA undertakings are on the agency's press release webpage.

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