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One Laptop Meets Big Business

Jun 06, 2008, 13:30 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Steve Hamm, Geri Smith)

"One by one, the children ran into the school yard, lining up in a grassy field next to a low-slung building of classrooms topped by a rusty steel roof. Most of these children in Luquia, a tiny, impoverished town 13,200 feet above sea level in the Peruvian Andes, wore ragged navy-blue uniforms, and many had not bathed in days. Their small adobe homes have dirt floors, no running water, and no bathrooms. They share sleeping space with dozens of squeaking guinea pigs, which scamper underfoot before becoming the family's rare meal of meat. The children, then, were understandably giddy with excitement in May as principal Pedro Santana handed them the most valuable thing they had ever owned: a small green-and-white laptop computer.

"These children are among the first in Peru to receive laptops from a trove of 140,000 the government plans to distribute to poor rural students this year in a bold bid to revolutionize the country's dismal educational system. Yet even as the students enjoyed one of the biggest thrills of their lives, the organization behind the computers, One Laptop per Child, was in danger of cracking..."

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