Wednesday, June 8, 2011

4 OLPC Laptops Get Comfortable in a Special School

A school for nuns, monks and lay children, the School for Himalayan Children is the only private school in Nepal to be fully funded by charity. Their education follows a well-rounded government curriculum enriched by instruction in Tibetan language and culture, as well as teachings of the Buddha. The children take part in prayer and meditation every day. Indeed, it is the most profoundly peaceful school I've ever visited. When I first walked through its gates two years ago to run a writing workshop, I knew I'd stepped into something special.

Here is information about their students taken from their Web site:

Our students come from the high mountains of Nepal, from villages that have no electricity, no toilets, no sanitation, no telecommunications, no hospitals, no roads and no schools. Our kids come from villages that are 6 to 14 days' trek from the nearest road, villages that lie above 10,000 feet (3000 m). Getting word to and from the villages sometimes takes months, depending on weather conditions. Most of the children are from the north of Nepal, but culturally and linguistically they are Tibetan, and their thinking is Buddhist. For centuries, the teachings of the Buddha have flourished without interruption in the Himalayas of Nepal.

This year, I run a special writing and critical thinking workshop for some seniors.

After my workshop, I stop by the school's main office with 4 OLPC laptops. The staff is thrilled to have these wonderful educational tools. They are figuring out how to spread their use to over 600 students, with hundreds more on the waiting list.

Here we see the vice-principal, computer teacher and my old student, Migmar Lama, begin their exploration.