Buy one laptop -- and a child gets one free
With Christmas just around the corner, I wanted to remind readers of the "One Laptop per Child" program, developed by Nicholas Negroponte, founder of MIT Media Lab. What better gift can your own child get, knowing they've helped another?
LONDON, England (CNN) -- For the first time, and for a limited period only, people in North America will be able to get their hands on the XO, MIT professor Nicholas Negroponte's rugged little laptop that's designed specifically for children.
Children in Cambodia using XO computers. The XO was designed for children in developing countries.
And for each cutting-edge XO purchased in the West, another will be given to a child in a developing country.
The "Give One Get One" scheme, which launches Monday, is part of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project to equip the world's poorest children with a learning tool.
For $399, customers can order a laptop for themselves; bundled into the price is the cost of delivering a second XO to a child a poor country.
The laptops, which went into high-volume production on 6 November, go on sale online at 6 a.m. Eastern Time Monday until November 26.
Founder of OLPC, MIT professor Nicholas Negroponte told CNN that the launch of the scheme was exhilarating. "It must be like a runner's high," he said. "A lot of muscles hurt. Many people thought we would not get to the finish line."
Negroponte is convinced that providing children in poor countries with computers is a cost-effective and empowering route into self-learning. In January 2005, he unveiled One Laptop Per Child, with the aim of building a $100 laptop and supplying it in bulk to developing countries.
It's the G1G1 link between a child in North America and a child in a developing country that Negroponte hopes will sway people to purchase an XO.
"In the Give One Get One program, the likely recipient in the developed world is a child," he explained. "For that child to be using the same laptop as a kid in Africa is especially meaningful."
Customers wanting their XOs for the holiday season have been advised to order early: the first 20,000 units should be delivered by Christmas, with their partner computers heading to Peru and Uruguay. Later orders will follow in 2008.
And Negroponte's message to those considering it as a gift this year? "Don't hesitate. Don't buy it because it is an inexpensive laptop," he told CNN.
"Buy it to join a movement to change the world."
For more information on the XO, and to order online, visit laptopgiving.org.