Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Another Year and now 2021

 Another year have passed since the last blog in Dec 2019. What a year in 2020 with Covid19 pandemic affecting Malaysia and worldwide. My intended trip back to Malaysia in March 2020 did not materialised - instead I am in lockdown in Melbourne since Feb 2020.  Despite that lots of have happen over the year which has been written in the dLEAP Kuala Gandah CheWong Website. The most recent entry is the introduction of a Wifi Internet Router with KancilBox for the community. 

Instead of internet access from the resource room located inside the Elephant Centre we are locating it in the comunity Centre (Balai). As we have not been back for a few months we have no direct information as to how well it is used. In 2020 we had a number of Zoom sessions with 2 young girls who have been offered a place in a community college to continue their study. Two recycled normal laptops were given to them and money was raised to support their study. Unfortunately the Pandemic has affected their study and they had to study offline instead. The value of the internet becomes apparent with Malaysia under MCO - Movement Control Order.

dLEAP had a little publicity from the local newspaper The Star. As such we were able to get some support from people who were interested in what we are doing - getting recycled laptop and some donations. 

Sustainability of dLEAP is something we have to deal with as it has been seven years. Our resources are limited and Covid has made things difficult for regular followup. We found that some publicity has positive effect if our work can get mainstream attention. With that in mind I submitted to BettAsia for an Award in mind.  I hope something good can come out from this.

When life can get back to normal we hope to see how to improve the assessibility of the resource room and Internet.  We still have some recycled XOs for more deployment and replacement of broken XOs.

I am aware that recent changes of not supporting older stuff.  Youtube or Zoom  do not support older XO's OS and browsers. Video access of youtube videos by XO is now problematic as the webpage do not show up in Browse.  I see no upgrade to the XO Fedora OS is underway despite the fact that the latest linux kernel has support  for XO 1.75. Lack of development fund and volunteers to make XO better in current time. Thus millions of XOs will be even less appealing in current reality. We are now left with legacy machines that will run legacy interactive flash based applications instead. Yet the future can still be in our hands if the heart is there to make a difference with what is left.

Happy 2021 and we keep safe.

Monday, 23 December 2019

Another year and 2020 next: Update

It has been exactly a  year since my last blog entry on Dec 23, 2018. Have not updated the many things that have happen over the year.  Better later than never - time to document and reflect on the  progress made in  2019.

1. CheWong Kuala Gandah (EC) Deployment

We have come a long way with this group of children. - from piloting XO play sessions to complete XO laptop ownership over the years. Each participating children is given his/her own XO laptop in 2017 to take home. In 2019, we wanted to know if the XOs were well utilised and its physical condition after 2 years of ownership. The kids are maturing and circumstances have change our expectations. For example we  are losing contact with  the  boys in our group. Some  have to follow their parents into the jungle. Girls are our majority paticipants now. Recently, one new boy joined our group. He received a recycled XO and was able to learn how to replace its broken screen..

A highlight in 2019 was the visit by YAB Dr A XAVIER JAYAKUMAR, Minister of Water, Land and Natural Resources.  The CheWong Resource Room that we have been trying to equip became a new focus.The visit was viewed with a pilot internet connection from a  webcam installed in the room. Our  internet sponsor has  created a blog. More about the work at Elephant Centre can be read from the link:

One significant outcome of this visit led to dLEAP being nominated for the Star Golden Hearts Award 2019 (SGHA) - the  SGHA is an annual award by The Star and Yayasan Gamuda to celebrate Malaysians who demonstrate extraordinary commitment to community/social work. dLEAPproject  made it to the semi-final which is an achievement in its own right.

In October the volunteers organised an event to decorate the door of the CheWong resources room. Color palm prints by kids and volunteers created a new playful atmosphere to the room. This year a kid who have been us for 5 years (in the picture below) will be taking her leaving school certificate (SPM). Over the last month she received support and tuition from our volunteer teacher. A scholarship is lined up for her by another volunteer to pursue her future study.

While making good progress in 2019 there are new challenges in 2020.  We need to make the resource room easily accessible for learning resource as destinated.That will require some effort from all parties - kids, parents, volunteers and staff of Elephant Centre. Wish us luck.This accessibility issue when resolved can help us to get the children to learn new things - drone flying , robotic, coding  to STEAM education.

Thirdly  we need to outreach to growing kids who lives in the deep jungle with their families. Exploration of portable solar panel is underway to make the XO laptop functional. If we can continue to nurture this current group of kids to support off the grid deployment, the chance of success is higher.

2. Solid Rock Learning Centre (SLRC), Melaka

Very little has been written about his deployment in Melaka but work has been ongoing for at least 4 years now. SLRC is operated byAgapeCare, a NGO in  historical Melaka where the first basecamp2013@Melaka was held. They support children who are disadvantage with educational programs by paid and volunteer staff. Students benefiting are from diverse background - some are indigenous Malaysian, kids of poor families  to refugee kids from Mynamar. 

dLEAP with SLRC kickstarted with 10 new XO4 donated by my classmates. Today it has 20 XO4 and 20 XO-1 which makes this the current largest deployment in Malaysia after the first Malaysia SEMOA deployment in Raub in 2014.

In November 16 this year a group of volunteers attended the SLRC musical concert. This end of the year program was memorable. We saw the kids having fun,witnessed by family members, teachers, members of the SLRC board, etc.

3. New deployment in Kuching, Sarawak

In 2019 dLEAP has expanded to Kuching, Sarawak. Collaboration with Dr. Cheah from UNIMAS who now have access to twenty XO4 from OLPC Asia is bearing some fuits. A recent visit was made to support  his new deployment.University volunteers were exposed and trained to conduct deployments. We are looking forward to Sawarak as it has a large rural children population and potential to benefit from dLEAP if done right.

 2020 and Beyond

We have come a long way, we will suceed however small our impact can have on children, organisations or volunteers. Laying the seeds and getting it right progressively is crucial. Now with years of accumulated experience from various deployments, we trust things can grow organically into sustainable impact over time. From our very first deployment in 2014 we confirmed that adult champions who believes children with technology can learn by themselves or peers are invaluable for dLEAP.  Putting children first and easy to access to right tools for joyful learning is however not easy as adults have different demands on how education should be conducted.  

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Sunday, 23 December 2018

10 Years Today on Christmas Eve: What's Next?

Christmas Eve 2008. I hurried down to the Oregon store in Shatin to collect my XO laptops. At the cost of HK$3,380 (the price of two XOs) I was able to own one, while donating another XO to a child somewhere in the world.  OLPC Asia  has come to town recently as a registered charity organization to raise fund with this Give 1 Get 1 (G1G1) laptop ownership program.

I remember two months earlier I made a birthday wish to own this little green laptop after discovering it on the web.  My hope was to kick a little joy back to my life with a new toy. Now I have one!
Back home, I unpacked and taught myself how to use it while instructing my mother-in-law how to operate it . She was my main donor and her first encounter with the XO was captured in video on Christmas Eve,2008.

Ten years later today, I am in a reflective mood. It has been quite a 10 years journey for me with the XO especially in my professional  life as a Clinical Psychologist, since I could breakout the 4 walls of therapy room into the world of child development and technology.

Today with the widespread availability of smartphones and tablets, the XO relevance as rugged and low powered computing for children is unique for me and children. Since our last Basecamp2013@Malacca where we discussed the XO future, there has yet to be another innovative one in all solutions as in the XO.

I recently came back from Malaysia after 2 weeks of followups on small deployments in various settings. The first generation XOs-1 that are 10+ years old are still functioning and recycled into the field.

XOs that are deployed in harsh environment like are still operating despite missing screws and broken screens. I retrieved a number of SD cards that has 2 years history usage and digital portfolio of children to study. As I demo the XO for urban parent with children,  they still see a role to counteract the mindless digital play of children growing up in the Apps world. The right screen time with the right tools matter today since there is a backlash from issues of devices common today.

 What's next? It may still follow me for another decade. The XO will still provide the dLEAP for learning in an upside down world.

If I outlived the XO, I  will reflect in a Christmas Eve 2028 blog entry. However in the present, the XO is like the King of Fruits, Durian -  either a +1 or -1 for your senses.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Sunday, 8 July 2018

dLEAP in 2018

The last blog I  wrote  was in January, 2017.It has the title "dLEAP into 2017". A year and half later I am updating this blog with an entry "dLEAP in 2018". Happy to say that no news is good news - there has been progress over the year.

Volunteers and I was back in July 2017 to follow-up the CheWong kids who lives in the surrounding areas of the Elephant Sanctuary. In my last 2017 blog I reported that we replaced all the older XO in the hands of the CheWong's children to XO4. Bags were purchased and they were reminded to keep it clean. Our surprise visit confirmed that they were indeed keeping it real clean and using it regularly to our delight.

Thanks to the good public relation by a local volunteer we were offered a newly painted room in Elephant Centre (EC) as resource centre for the children. It is also an educational public space for visitors to EC. On August 12, 2017 last year we had the children of dLEAP to participate in the World Elephant Day. A simple Scratch game written by a Hong Kong 12 year old kid and downloaded to their XO4 were shown to visitors.

Kids from a surrounding school was entertained to what they could do with the XO4. These students envied what the CheWong's  children were able to do with 1:1 laptop ownership.

Yes, we hope to do another event for August 12, 2018!


To reach out to new children and even smaller children we piloted leaving a few XOs to a kindergarten to the delight of the 4-6 years old children. They were using it almost immediately and was very proficient a month later with no support. Work is in progress  that we will get each children their own laptop by the end of 2018. Hence this pre-school will become a 1:1 kindergarten and will serve both very young CheWong children and Malay village children.

We have been supporting the CheWong kids for four years now. They have grown up alot since then. A local volunteer who is a teacher recently introduced the mind-mapping activity to these children. A  kid took the opportunity to describe  CheWong tribe:  350-400 people remaining, permalu (shy) people, lives in jungle and make a living with "rotan" collection, etc. It was insightful and they also made mind-maps to describe who they are as a person!

In another front some good progress is coming out from a small pilot of XO4 with another local volunteer who is based in Sarawak. As an academic and computer scientist he is engaging development of local support resources. I was sent this link on their development and even had a video of their pilot test session.

So the progress from 2017 into 2018 has been good. It will be 5 years since Basecamp2013@Malacca was organised. We were lucky to attract participants from all over the world. Will there be a Basecamp 2018? I have sketched of what could be possible dates in August for synergy in Hong Kong or/and Malaysia. It has been a tiring 5 years but rewarding when you see children and kids getting the opportunities. For basecamp2018, this is a vapour idea more than a month away. If it happens it happens! 

 Will love to hear from any of you as comments or by e-mail (

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

dLEAP into 2017

It has been more then six months since my last blog entry. Alot has happen over this period. The dLEAP initiative in Malaysia is growing in support. Towards the end of 2016,  forty 50 XO4s were shipped by OLPC Asia to support the project. The local team collected the old and worn out XO1 and replaced them with this newer XO4 touch screen model. Each kid was given a bag and towel with a strong message that they were responsible to keep it clean and functioning.

A visit in Jan 10, 2017 confirmed that the children were indeed looking after their laptop.

In the next few months we hope more children will have access to their own XO, There are harder to reach children who lives deep in the jungle with their families. We hope this current group of children will become ambassadors to help their peers in different circumstances.

I have written an evaluation on the 3 years of dLEAP for documentations.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Documenting dLEAP

  It is June, 2016. Since my last visit in December in 2015 I have been thinking of documenting the dLEAP project. Managed to get a written version done with links to videos that capture in  detail how the project evolved over the last 2 years. It was a journey.

Writing the acknowlegement revealed how many people are helping in their own ways.

“together we do so little, Together we can do so much”  - Anonymous