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25 Raspberry Pis power computer lab in underdeveloped African village

Image used with permission by copyright holder

It makes sense to use a computer that costs as little as $25 to further the education of children in underdeveloped regions, so when the Raspberry Pi Foundation posted a story about bringing the Pi to Africa, we weren’t surprised. According to Geert Maertens, the representative of a volunteer group funding a secondary school in Cameroon, 25 Raspberry Pi units now serve as the heart of the school’s new computer lab. 

The town where the school (St. Marcellin Comprehensive College) is being built (construction isn’t quite done yet) is very small and is located in a “relatively poor region of the country, with no reliable water and electricity supply,” Maertens writes. In order to build a computer lab for the new educational institution, the volunteer group packed 30 Pis in suitcases along with HDMI to VGA converters and traveled with them all to the Central African country. Five of the tiny computers aren’t in active use and probably serve as backup. While the hard drives, switches, and router were imported from Europe, the volunteer organization got the screens, keyboards, and mice to complete the setups within Cameroon. The result is a no-frills, fully functional computer lab where students can learn about the basics of how to work with an office suite via the freeware, LibreOffice

Since the school is located in an area with no reliable electricity, all the computers are powered by a generator. There’s no working Internet connection in the town either, so while the computers are connected to a network and the network is connected to a router, it’s going to be a while before the students can browse the Web on their Pi-powered setups. For now, the volunteer group’s goal is for the students to start learning programming via their new computers.

Check out a video of the school with its Raspberry Pi computer lab below.

(Image credit: Raspberry Pi Foundation)

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Mariella Moon
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