Guest Speakers - XO OLPC and Timor leste

Today we had guest speakers come in to talk about the XO system and Timor leste.

The guest speaker’s names were Rosemary and David.

Rosemary presented us with many pictures of their time in Timor leste which showed us how underdeveloped the country was and how much assistance is needed to improve the development of the country.

Rosemary explained to the class many things about Timor leste and I will be giving a summary of what we were told.

Timor leste is about 1 hour away by plane and is located above Darwin in Indonesia. It is a tropical area which is near the equator and the only people you will see there are the locals and missonaries who help to develop the country. The national language of Timor leste is Portuguese but the local language is known as Tetun. You will find alot of brazillian people in Timor because they also speak Portuguese and the locals refer to foreigners as Mallai which means "White Man".

The foreigners you will find at Timor leste are called Missionaries. These people have flown to Timor leste to help develop the country and get it to a decent standard. They offer many different things to the locals such as teaching english, introducing carpentry skills, enabling access to internet and much more.

Due to the very poor amount of education which is available to the children in Timor leste, it is not compulsory to attend school. The children who wish to attend school will only be seen with a very basic set of stationary, a pen and a small exercise book. School is only run in the morning due to weather conditions in the later hours of the day.

The housing in Timor leste is constructed of minimal materials as the huts are made of trees and leaves. There is no electricity, flooring or running water supply for these huts so you can see that it is a very low standard of living in Timor leste.

The electricity is proportioned due to its low supply. The electricity will typically turn on around 6am and 6pm for a few hours then turn off the rest of the day.

Rosemary explained how David helped in Timor leste. David ran many computing courses which taught the children of the country to use computers and VoIP. The children have never experienced the use of a phone before so they found it very strange. David also taught the representative of a school principal named Syntus (also the official interpreter for the Australian Army) how to use to the XO laptop. Teaching adults how to use the XO will allow them to be able to teach the children how to use it at school.

This brings us to the main purpose of the guest speakers.

The XO laptop is a cheap laptop which was designed to give every child in a third world country a laptop each. The XO runs the Sugar OS ( more information can be found in my first blog) which offers many applications which can benefit the education of the children in Timor leste. Applications such as Ebook Reader will reduce the costs of education because the children will not have to purchase expensive, heavy textbooks to learn but instead just download and ebook and be able to learn from it. Since the XO only has a one off cost, the families of the children will be able to save money because they will not have to continually buy exercise books, pens and stationary. The children will be able to do all their word processing, reading and research on this small laptop. The XO is shockproof , waterproof and has a low power usage which is perfect for the conditions that are currently inhabited in Timor leste.

Routers and antennas on tall poles are being installed above rooftops to enable internet access to the whole area. The XO has inbuilt WiFI support which will allow the childrean to connect to these hotspots and be able download the information needed to further their education.

Rosemary explained that there are many organisations in Timor leste currently that are contributing to develop the country. The organisations that she told us about were Leader, I.T NGO Forum and GreenPC.

Leader is similar to BigW in Australia as it sells furniture, hardware and much more. Only missionaries are found shopping in this store as it is far too expensive for the local people but this company still contributes by supply the missionaries with equipment they may need to help the locals.

I.T NGO Forum is the organisation which is helping setup the routers around the area to provide internet access among the towns.

Mission Aviation Fellowship is run by a man who lives with his family on Timor leste. He flies around the country transporting missionaries to different towns and also to assist in any emergencies which need urgent transport.

GreenPC is a melbourne based business. The owner of the company came to Timor leste and selected a handful of locals and flew them to melbourne for 6 months. During those six months, the owner taught the people how to fix old computers to be able to sell them for profit. This allowed the locals to start a viable business in Timor leste and earn a decent income for their families. The old computers are donated by Australians and sent over to Timor leste.

There are also nuns who run a program in one of the towns which aims to provide assistance in the development of teenage girls. The nuns provide a 40 bedroom location where girls aged around 12-15 come and get taught by the nuns. The nuns teach the girls skills such as hospitality, cooking, book keeping and how to use a computer. This is all aimed to help the girls find a job so they can help their families with income.

I think that it was very good that Mr.Kerr allowed Rosemary and David to come and speak to use about this topic because it gave a great insight into how underdeveloped the country is and how much they need help to develop their country. I think its great that so many organisations and people are contributing and donating things to Timor leste because it will help the country very much and hopefully get it in to a great condition.


Bill Kerr said...

You have gone into a great amount of excellent and accurate detail in this rendition of Rosemary's presentation.

Also good use of paragraphing and interspersing the photos in with the text

spelling and grammar:
Timorleste, should be Timor Leste (Leste means East)
the XO only has an one off cost (a not an)

dude said...

Airsok, i read you blog since i was away and it helped me a lot in understanding it

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