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Computer Sales Seek to Aid Developing World

Nicholas Negroponte is the founding director of the Media Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. And he is chairman of a nonprofit organization aiming to provide inexpensive computers to children in the developing world. But perhaps more than anything else, Nicholas Negroponte is a determined optimist. VOA's Paul Sisco has more.

Nicholas Negroponte has a grand vision for the future. Give all the world's children a laptop computer, Internet access, and in 10 years. "Poverty will be eliminated, and there will be world peace," he adds.

Negroponte chairs a nonprofit organization called One Laptop Per Child. It aims to educate the world's poorest children with these durable low-cost, energy efficient laptops.

Fortune Magazine's David Kirkpatrick says, "It really is the first time that anybody has built a machine specifically for poor kids in quantity."

Production costs of the so called $100 laptops are actually around $188. And for two weeks in November, North Americans will be able to buy two for about $400. The plan announced earlier this week is called "Give One Get One." For every laptop bought, one is shipped to a child in the developing world. The buyer gets a $200 tax deduction. The computers can be hand cranked and charged with solar power. That led one boy in a focus group to say they even prevent global warming.

'You can use it for your homework.'
'You can do kid stuff on it.'
'And I can pick it up. See??'

Nicholas Negroponte added, "If you think of it as a laptop, it can be viewed as a luxury. If you think of it as education, it's not a luxury."

Several governments have shown interest in the computers. Negroponte says he believes the new marketing effort will prompt those governments to buy the computers.

For more information on this topic and laptop donations see