The Web Comes to Ecole Shalom, Haiti


One Laptop per Child
OLPC’s director in Haiti, Adam Holt, has been working closely with a special volunteer, George, to bring internet access to Ecole Shalom in Croix-des-Bouquets. This is important to volunteers who are used to internet access at their homes, but further down the road, especially exciting for the students themselves.

To do this, a 3G Natcom modem was installed. Various plans were tried, and presently they are using a $20/month package. This may increase to a $35/month, for unlimited internet access. The speed is faster than the internet access that Ecole Shalom has from its current Internet Service Provider.

Working together, they set up a Virtual Private Network, or VPN.

This will allow George to access the school server from the USA, and maybe do the setup that is necessary, so that eventually they can let the kids begin to use the internet. They will need to set up content filters, local storage for frequently accessed pages, etc.

George says that “the fun part was learning to set up a server in Amazon’s cloud. This involved setting up a very small service on one of Amazon’s many servers whose job is to listen for requests from the Server in Haiti, and from people like me, wanting to get secure, private access.”

Much work still has to be done configuring DansGuardian (web filter) expanding web access for teachers and establishing online learning opportunities for kids in this semi-rural community, but one can’t help but be thrilled that the technical infrastructure is moving forward in ways that were just not possible (or affordable!) mere months ago.

The near-universal positive community response to Ecole Shalom’s OLPC program from all teachers has been breathtaking, a true credit to all volunteers who made this happen.

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About fromourisland

Gardener, knitter, wife, mother of 2, grandmother, and lots more.
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