December 17, 2009

Linux in Lebanon

I have been helping out at a computer lab in Neba, which is a small suburb of Beirut. The majority of the people that live there are foreigners from Syria, Egypt, and other Middle Eastern countries. (Mostly poor folks.)

Most of the folks that go to this centre do not know how to read. Since they are not Lebanese, they are not able to go to Lebanese schools. The centre teaches them basic reading and math skills.

When I first came to the centre I saw a bunch of old computers that mostly wouldn't turn on. They had about 4 gigs of hard drive on each of them.

I approached the centre with the idea of putting Linux on the computers. Being that no one in the staff had any idea what Linux was, I decided to bring my laptop and show them.

After I did that, I installed it on the first demo computer. After Ubuntu was installed, I loaded various things such as Bible time, and the educational suites for children (Tux typing, Tux math, etc...) After the first demo machine was used for a week, I was asked to get the others installed.

Now they currently have six computers all loaded with Ubuntu and educational software. The kids are learning on Linux rather than pirated Windows.

A big thanks to all the Linux community for all their hard work, as it is making a difference in these kids' lives. They might be able to actually get real jobs someday and break the cycle of begging.