Sunday, November 18, 2007


Someone explain this org to me:

They distribute laptops to kids in third world countries. They say that their mission is "to provide children around the world with new opportunities to explore, experiment and express themselves." I've seen for commercials for their org multiple times on primetime TV, with a star from Heroes calling for donations, and their website is obviously expensive. This group is apparently quite rich, or at least they put a huge emphasis on media.

I just have one question: why, WHY should we focus on getting kids laptops when things like medical care and financial security are so much more important? Are we giving laptops to children while their mothers' HIV or TB goes untreated? While their family subsists on a minimum of food? Because in many places in the world, even if laptops aren't going to those places, these are the conditions. Laptops and education are important. But laptops are not necessary for education, and not necessary to live. I would be willing to bet that many of these kids will never leave their country of origin and will go into agriculture when they're older. Wouldn't money be put to better use assuring that they will receive fair prices for their products?

I don't understand.


  1. Is medical care more important than education? Sure. But that doesn't mean we should ignore one in favor of the other. They are both good causes and both should be advanced. I would disagree with you in saying that laptops are not necessary for education. In this technologically advancing world, countries without the means to access technology are being left behind...and they will STAY behind if organizations like this didn't provide help with stuff like this. And this will provide a better long term solve for the situation. We bring the children up to date educationally speaking, they are able to rejoin the world economically as a result, and will be able to provide themselves with money, medical care, etc., instead of relying on aid organizations. Why should you be so sure that these kids will just grow up and be farmers? Aren't we unfairly limiting their mobility by NOT giving them the means for a modern education? The answer is that they have no choice right now but to go into agriculture when they grow up, but if we educate them properly, they can do what they wish. And if they DO go into agriculture, they'll have the means and ability to make sure they get fair prices. And then they can achieve this financial security you call for through the own means. A much better way.

    Sure, it does sound very idealistic, but it's worth a try. The net benefits outweigh any of the minor disadvantages.

  2. I just think that other, more dire needs outweigh this need. There's not enough funding to go around to fund all of the things that should happen; funding should be focused towards what MUST happen.

  3. But there are huge disadvantages to getting rid of a program like this, especially in the long term. Sure we can throw money at fair trade and medicine because these things need to be helped NOW, but the fact remains that this program hopes for a fix for the long term. If this program works as it should (which may or may not be a longshot, it's ultimately your or any investor's call in deciding where to put your money and time), we will no longer need to spend all the money on healthcare, etc. by the next generation.

  4. Other programs have much more of a chance of making a difference in the long-term. For example: the laptops' programs are in English. If no one, including their parents, know English, how can they use the laptops to catch up to the rest of the world? ESL programs seem much more likely to make a broader impact.

  5. The programs are not just in English:

  6. Huh. I could have sworn last night it listed English, but between now and then they've changed the FAQ page.