United Nations Relief and Works Agency chooses One Laptop per Child Laptops with Sugar for Major Education Project in Mideast

Apr 29 2010

CAMBRIDGE, Mass, April 29, 2010 - The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA, http://www.unrwa.org) has announced an ambitious three-year program to provide a laptop loaded with the award-winning Sugar Learning Platform to one-half million Palestine refugee children in the West Bank and Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.

“Empowering the next generation through knowledge and learning is central to UNRWA’s education projects. We are teaching 500,000 children in the Middle East every day and having all of them with a laptop will be huge contribution to bridging the technology and knowledge gap in one of the most troubled regions of the world”, said Chris Gunness, UNWRA Spokesman.

Walter Bender, founder and Executive Director of Sugar Labs, said: “Today, one-and-one-half-million children, from the rain forests of Peru to the steppes of Mongolia, from the hills of Rwanda to the mountains of Afghanistan, are learning in their native tongues with Sugar and its suite of learning Activities on OLPC’s XO laptops. The UNRWA project will add one-half million more learners in the Jordan valley and throughout the Middle East, and more projects are on the way. An entire generation is learning with Sugar.”

The heart of Sugar is its Activities for children (http://activities.sugarlabs.org), fun and engaging programs for reading e-books, writing, drawing, browsing the Internet, programming, and so on. Sugar has collaboration and backup to a Journal built-in, making it particularly well-suited both for the classroom and outside school where learning continues. The free open source XS School Server, available from One Laptop per Child, provides a safely filtered online environment for young learners.

Existing UNRWA learning content will be adapted to Sugar and teacher training is underway. The UNRWA project follows last year’s deployment of 1000 XO laptops in Palestinian schools by the Palestine Education Initiative (http://www.pei.gov.ps, http://en.palexo.com). Sugar Labs welcomes developers and volunteers to make this important endeavor successful.

About Sugar Labs: Sugar Labs, a volunteer-driven, nonprofit organization, is a member project of the Software Freedom Conservancy. Originally part of the One Laptop Per Child project, Sugar Labs coordinates volunteers around the world who are passionate about providing educational opportunities to children through the Sugar Learning Platform. Sugar Labs is supported by donations and is seeking funding to accelerate development. For more information, please visit http://www.sugarlabs.org.

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