Posted December 7, 2007 4:50 pm by with 3 comments

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UNICEF, One Laptop per Child, and Google want to build a better world through storytelling. They have partnered to help children capture stories about their lives, family, and culture. Called “Our Stories,” they have collected narratives from all around the world and put them online at

Google loves a good story and together with two other groups, are collecting, organizing and distributing stories. Their aim to preserve an oral history of humanity in the 21st Century.

The stories are pinpointed on the site on a Google Map and markers show where the stories are located. I would listen to some of the stories, but I don’t speak any of the languages represented. That’s because the emphasis is on developing nations. Their hope is to “contribute to a better understanding of our shared humanity across countries and cultures, across religious traditions, across languages, and across generations.”

One Laptop per Child provides children in developing countries with an easy way to record their stories and interviews. OLPC is funded by Google and several other companies who each donated two million dollars.

The OurStories site already has stories collected by Brazil’s Museum of the Person and those recorded for UNICEF by children in Ghana, Pakistan, Tanzania and Uganda.

The project was inspired by StoryCorps(R), a project for the United States. It was founded by MacArthur Fellow Dave Isay, who wanted to make sure people’s lives (history) are recorded and preserved.

More stories from more countries will be added to the site monthly. If you’re looking for a humanitarian gift this Christmas. OLPC is promoting their “Give 1 Get 1” offer until December 31, 2007. Here’s how it works: you buy a laptop for yourself and they’ll give one to a child in a developing nation. They’ve tried to keep the price to $100 per laptop to make it affordable for more people but I believe it’s closer to $150 now.

  • I think it is a fabulous idea to preserve the oral history of the 21st century. I shall visit and see if I understand any of the languages. I think this is a good initiative of Google’s.

  • What a great idea. Beyond preserving oral history it’s a great way to connect people around the world.

    I thought the last I saw the laptop was just under $200, though maybe it’s come down since. Hopefully in time they will get the price down, but even at $200 I’d consider the project a success.

  • heir complaint is that it does not run “store-bought Apple and Microsoft software”. Yeah, sure, that’s just what worries children in Mongolia. The shrink-wrapped software won’t run… (sarcasm)

    Why must one assume that these laptops are to be judged by adults in the West and assumed to be aimed at that same group?