Nowadays, of an estimated 101 million children not in school, more than half are girls. They are being denied their basic human right to education, with far-reaching consequences: without it, their future opportunities are dramatically limited. (Source:Unicef)
I was delighted to attend a talk by Samia Lounis at the Microsoft Innovation Centre (MIC) in Brussels during TEDxChange 2012. She was presenting the impressive work of the One Laptop Per Child Foundation.
Samia came into the room holding an XO, the Yves Behar designed green laptop pioneered by OLPC, and went on to propose a small piece of the big TEDxChange puzzle: childrens' access to education as a universal priority.
Her involvement in the project as OLPC Europe director, is focused on providing learning resources to kids in poor and remote regions of the planet (Brazil, Rwanda, Cambodia, Nepal, Mozambique, Mali, Paraguay, Swaziland…). By bridging the digital divide, OLPC aims to create life opportunities for those children without access to the digital world.
OLPC started a sort of digital renaissance with its global schooling project, by involving entire communities and prioritising a precious natural resource: their children and their children's education.
This includes everyone, from children and their families to their teachers and everyone who is collaborating towards the success of the project.
The strong belief at the root of the programme is in the power of giving children the chance to gain skills and knowledge. Furnishing them with the tools and learning support can be an effective way to change the outcomes of poverty and isolation.
Providing increased take up of the technology and ownership of connectable laptops (manually rechargeable tablets or solar panel tablets), OLPC has reached 2.4M children between the ages of 6 and 12 in over 42 countries, getting parents involved and accelerating the literacy rates of entire villages. The kids also learn how to repair their own XO laptop.
Samia Lounis graduated in Art History and Philosophy, studied Applied Sciences for Fine Arts and Design in Amsterdam. She serves as the Advocacy Director of OLPC Europe, started in Brussels in 2008. She has also been the director of TEDxBrussels since 2009 and the organizer of TEDxKids@Brussels focused on “kids makers”. Samia is a TED member and TEDx Ambassador. Much of her charm comes from her ability to mix sweetness with a strong commitment to education and youth empowerment.
OLPC's mission is to empower the world's poorest children through education.