We were hoping to do something a little different with our holiday fund-raising efforts this year, and I think we've found just the thing. When TR biz guy Adam Eiberger and I traveled to Uganda in the summer of 1993, we met a gentleman named Sam Adior who was working with "street kids" in the capital city of Kampala. These kids were, for one reason or another, abandoned to live on the streets of the city at an early age. Sam helped to clothe, feed, and educate them. We stayed in touch with Sam over the years as he continued working with kids, married his wife Grace, and furthered his own education. Today, Sam and Grace Adior are involved in running a school in the Kampala area known as the Ebenezer Educational Center. This school provides an affordable elementary education for its students. Here's a quick introduction.
Ebenezer Educational Center (EEC) is located in Nsambya-Kevina, one of the poor suburbs east of Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. It was founded in 2002 by Sam and Grace Adior and Charles Hashya. Sam and Grace had been teachers at a previous school, and Charles was a small business owner. Sam is currently in the UK working on a graduate degree in business, and Grace is also pursuing further education, working toward a degree in counseling through evening classes in Kampala so she can continue to teach during the day.
The school offers classes for primary 1 through primary 7 and currently has 180 students, ages 5 to 14. There are nine teachers, two of whom (including Grace) volunteer their time without receiving any pay. Normally students would leave a primary school at age 12 or 13, but the Adiors' vision for the EEC is to provide vocational courses, like tailoring, knitting, catering, and technical training such as typesetting and design for children who are able to continue with their educations. They are already experimenting with some of these subjects for the older kids.
The students pay about $19 per term (which is three months). The average rate for private schools is $55 per term. The school receives no government grants or regular support from secular or religious organizations. They are reliant on the tuition payments and donations from a handful of private individuals.
There is a government school nearby which offers "free" primary education. However, it only accepts four children per family, which excludes many from larger families. Also, they require parents to pay for school uniforms, meals, curriculum and school supplies, the total of which is almost the same cost one incurs to send a child to EEC.
The scores on the primary leaving exams conducted by EEC so far have been higher than the average for similarly-sized private schools. The regional government education officer has visited the school for special programs and events and is supportive of the center growing and expanding their services.
Many of the children come from single-parent homes, and some are orphaned. Many adults in this area are infected with HIV/AIDS, which contributes to instability in the families and the children's education.
For many of these kids, the education they receive at EEC will be the best foundation they have for building a better life. The Adiors and their friends at EEC have already done the hard work of establishing the school. We'd like to participate by providing EEC with computers for use in the classroom.
These computers could do a world of good for a number of reasons. When combined with Internet access, computers can offer access to a wealth of information right in the classroom, including resources like Wikipedia and the web. Internet-connected computers are also, as you know, extremely powerful communication tools that could give EEC students the ability to connect with people and communities around the globe. And teaching the kids computer skills would give them a leg up in their future educational and professional endeavors, especially in connection with EEC's vocational development efforts.
What we'd like to do is raise enough money to outfit an EEC classroom with computers. To that end, we've teamed up with the folks at Asus, who were more than happy to support the cause and to set aside Eee PC systems for us in the face of very high demand. Asus's Eee PC subnotebook computers have created quite a buzz because they're a very affordable way of achieving on-the-go Internet access and basic computing capabilities. The Eee PC's mobile-class hardware is modest but inexpensive, and Asus has kept the price low and functionality high by using a Linux-based operating system and wrapping it up in a Windows-like interface with a suite of basic productivity and communications apps.
We think these systems are perfect for the students at EEC. Their small keyboards are right-sized for kids' hands, and the Eee PC's affordability should allow us to buy enough of them to give each student some time at the keyboard. Their battery power should allow them to be used even when the electrical grid isn't supplying power, and they're small and light enough to be locked away in secure storage when not in use.
Our primary goal is to raise enough money to buy ten Eee PC 4G Surf laptops. These systems come with a Celeron M ULV processor, 512MB of RAM, a 4GB solid state drive, a 7" display with LED backlight, a Fast Ethernet port, and Wi-Fi connectivity built in. Importantly, the 4G Surf model has socketed memory and can be upgraded to 2GB of RAM in the future. The 4G Surf retails for $349.99 each.
Our first fund-raising goal is $4000. That should be enough to provide the school with at least ten laptops and to cover shipping to Uganda. Of course, we'd love to have enough money to buy the school 20 or more laptops and to provide extra funds for Internet access, printers, and other related infrastructure, but we'll start there.
So here's the deal
Initially our plan was to raffle off our three prize packages and use the proceeds to supply computers to EEC. However, we found that legal restrictions made using the raffle format problematic. A raffle of questionable legality might draw attention to the gun-running and moonshine operations that fund TR's publishing activities, so we decided against it. Instead, we're simply going to open up giveaway entries to everybody and rely on your goodwill to prompt you to donate to our EEC school computer fund drive. We're giving you guys something, and we're asking for a little something in return. It's by no means required, but if each giveaway entrant would contribute just $25, we should be able to buy quite a few computers for EEC. If you can afford to donate even more, well, it's certainly for a good cause. If we can simply raise the cash equivalent of the PC hardware we're giving away, we should be able to outfit a classroom at EEC handsomely. And if we can double that amount, we'll be closer to talking about, well, one laptop per child in the class. Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?
The rules for the giveaway and the sign-up form are below, as is the "Donate" button you can use to contribute to the EEC school computer fund drive. Please use them both. Donating to the cause won't increase your chances to win, but we figure karma has a way of working these things out.
The rules and regs
Entering the giveaway is easy. You just have to fill out a form and correctly answer three easy questions about the latest PC hardware. The answers for these questions are readily found by reading through several of TR's recentand always entertainingarticles.
Please note, however, that you may only enter once. Multiple entries per person are not permitted, and please don't try gaming the system by entering your girlfriend, wife, and kids. We'll probably decide to disqualify you if you do.
We will be accepting TR Tech Share giveaway entries between now and December 31st at noon CST. We'll then choose our three winners in a random drawing. The winners will be announced on the site and will also be notified via e-mail. Each winner must claim his prize by the end of the day on Monday, January 7, 2008, or he will forfeit his prize and we will draw a new winner.
You must include your full name and a shipping address with your entry. We will not share your address or other information with any of our sponsors. In fact, we won't disclose your personal information to anyone. Incomplete entries will be disqualified. TR also reserves the right to disqualify entries that appear to be attempts to game the system or circumvent the rules in any way.
The staff of The Tech Report and their immediate families may not enter the giveaway and are not eligible to win.
We will accept entries from any state or country, with the caveat that this whole thing is void where prohibited by law. TR is not responsible for damage in shipping, damage caused by installing these parts in your computer, or damage to your self-esteemand neither are our sponsors. We will answer questions and offer clarifications of the rules in this comments thread.
So you'll know how good your chances are and how much money we've raised to buy computers for Ebenezer Education Center, we'll be providing updates about our progress on the site.
Donate to our EEC school computer fund drive:
Enter to win one of our three prize packages:
Sorry, but the giveaway is now complete and entries are no longer being accepted.
95 comments — Last by SUSHRUKH at 2:41 PM on 12/31/07
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