I am so excited to have the whole OLPC Corps coming to Kigali! I have been calling Rwanda home lately and I am thrilled to have some new friends come to visit so KARIBU (welcome). My name is Alyssa Callister and after getting a bachelors degree in business I founded an NGO called the Ungana Foundation that operates out of Rwanda and Congo. I believe that the OLPC corps can make a huge difference. I know that with the right motivation, helping kids to remove limits placed on them, these children can accomplish anything. Most people when they hear about the XO and OLPC think only about the innovative technology (which obviously is amazing). OLPC has not only provided an outlet in which kids will have access to the internet and a great learning tool to teach technology (the XO), but also provided access to accomplished and driven university students who understand and can see their future potential.
What continually amazes me about the children in Africa is their brilliant ideas. The other day I sat in on a class where the teacher was lecturing on the importance of the East African Community. The children were in P 4 (around 9 years old) and learning about the importance of business, marketing, and communications throughout the region. The teacher asked one of the students to stand up and speak to the class regarding his thoughts on the subject. The boy stood up and expressed that it was important for Rwanda to push technology and English so that they can help other countries in the East African Community. He went on to talk about the many affects that trade agreements and open communication lines will have on East Africa. By the time he sat down, my jaw was on the floor. He is 9 years old! When I was 9 my only concern was when we were going to get out for recess. Given the opportunity, these kids can be future GLOBAL leaders.
No matter what age, race, or circumstance an individual has the potential to set and attain goals large and small. This is the attitude and mentality that the corps members will bring to the kids and it is this added component that will create a unique learning environment. So, in conclusion, welcome OLPC corps members! I am excited to meet and learn from you all!