Amazon UK to sell OLPC laptop

The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) group launched its Give 1 Get 1 programme for a second time, allowing people to buy one of their iconic green mini laptops and donate one to a child in the developing world at the same time for just $399 (£270).

This year, OLPC teamed up with Amazon for smoother ordering and distribution.

Amazon will begin taking orders for the XO laptops today. The devices will be shipped within 30-days in the US or longer for people ordering from the UK or other parts of the world.

All orders from outside the US will be taken through Amazon's UK website and will be delivered in the first quarter of next year or later, OLPC said.

OLPC was started at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a goal of creating a low-cost $100 laptop for school kids in countries where education budgets are less than $20 per child and most kids don't stay in school past the firth grade.

Although its initial laptop, the XO, costs double the target price, the organization has blossomed. OLPC has shipped more than 500,000 XO laptops to children in 31 countries including Afghanistan, Cambodia and Iraq. The organization hopes to deliver 1 million by the end of this year.

The Give 1 Get 1 programme OLPC last year ran for six weeks and generated sales of 160,000 XO laptops, an OLPC representative said. More people opted to give the device outright, so over 100,000 of those laptops went to school kids in countries including Haiti and Rwanda.

"The phenomenal success of last year's Give 1 Get 1 programme created tremendous demand from both the public who wanted to give more and from countries that saw an opportunity to attack poverty through education," said Nicholas Negroponte, founder and chairman of OLPC, in a statement.

There are several ways to participate in the Give 1 Get 1 programme.

In Give 1 Get 1, people pay $399 for two XO laptops, one sent to a child in a developing country and the other sent to the donor. Those who don't want an XO can also simply give as many laptops as they want at $199 each.

Microsoft Windows lovers should take note. The XOs to be shipped to users will carry a Linux OS, not the version of Windows XP that has been tweaked to run on the XO laptop.

Several companies, including Google and SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications), have pledged to match and double employee donations.

Many companies offer matching donation programmes and people interested in Give 1 Get 1 should check with their companies. OLPC hopes interested parties will get in contact with them.

But there's no need to wait to get involved. Anyone interested in donating laptops to kids in the developing world can do so through OLPC's website, though these programs do not involve sending a laptop to the donor. OLPC offers several ways to participate, including an option to Give Many or volunteer to develop software, translate languages, organize a group or become part of an OLPC effort around the world.

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