OLPCorps Tulane University & UC Davis – Sierra Leone

Money, Money, Money! by Katie R
May 21, 2009, 5:56 am
Filed under: Money

OLPCorps has been a learning experience so far for the team, to say the least, and, as it always seems to go, the more we learn about the project, the more we realize how much we don’t know.  For example, it seems that each day for the past few weeks we have discovered new pieces of equipment that need to be added to the already extended budget (router, modem, access points, adapters, cabling, power strips, extension cords, etc.), new expenses that we are expected to cover and didn’t realize at the start (power, fuel for a generator, solar panels, etc.),  and new (higher) prices for items that we knew we would need but thought would be more affordable (wireless internet)- all of which are essential in order to put together an effective and sustainable program.  And so, each day as we learn more about what it takes to make this project work, we learn also how fast our $10,000 grant is going, going… gone.

As it turns out, with our most recent budget estimate as of last week,  it looks as though we are about $5,500 in the hole… which is quite an intimidating sum to be expected to come up with in the 2.5 weeks before we leave.  If we had more time between the departure date and when we found out about being selected for the project, this might be a different story… but, alas, that is not the case and we have 15 days until Katie M. and Katie R. depart for the training session in Kigali, Rwanda.

So, we decided to kick the fundraising campaign up a notch this past week and, thanks to the generous support of plenty of folks, we haven’t done half bad.  Here are some highlights:

  • Dean Beukens of Tulane’s School of Public Health generously offered $1,000 to help us out with our most costly budget item- transportation.
  • Yes Press screen printing offered to donate shirts with our logo for the teachers and other local stakeholders in the project.
  • We sent out a flurry of personal donation letters to family and friends and we are starting to see some checks coming in.  A BIG thank you to Lu Larsen Haussler (Gretchen’s mom!) and the Lopez family (Katie R.’s aunt, uncle and cousins!) for being our first personal donors!

Happily, at this point we are just over 20% toward our goal of $5,500 within a pretty short period of time, which is encouraging.  There’s still quite a ways to go though…  and, as recent starving grad students, covering a few grand out of our own pockets would prove to be a difficult, near impossible, feat.


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