This Entry has been submitted.


Princeton, United States
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

We believe that every child should have the opportunity to realize her potential. We build affordable computers and load them with the best opensource educational material available so that children in the poorest areas of the globe can have access knowledge that will change their lives

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

Every child on the planet had access to the best existing educational material?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

60% of the world's children lack access to education past middle school. On a personal level, this hinders them from fully realizing their potential. On a national level, this prevents economic growth. MOOCS and other open courseware educational initiatives aim to put the best learning materials online. Children in the poorest parts of the world don’t have access to computers or internet, but what if we could get this material into their hands?

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

PiCreate provides children in the developing world with inexpensive (<$100) personal computers from which they can access the best educational content without an internet connection. This allows them to watch videos, read books, program software, and type documents providing for a hands-on, practical learning experience. We have established a partnership with Coursera and Khan Academy to use their educational material on our computers. Our solution utilizes a local server method that allows for the children to access up to a terabyte of content locally, without the need for an internet connection. This content can be updated annually by simply providing a new hard-drive with new content, without needing to replace every computer.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

We have distributed 20 computers to a school in Kakamega Kenya. Younger students use Khan Academy to watch videos and play games to supplement their schoolwork. In addition they make simple programs on Scratch, a visual programming environment provided with every computer. We are quantifying their improvements in learning with weekly assessments. Initial results show sizable improvements in understanding of the material. After school, older students use the same computers to complete Coursera classes about community change, entrepreneurship, and public speaking. They write essays, watch videos and complete the assignments together with the intent of learning tangible skills that they can apply in their community.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Quantitatively we are seeing major improvements in test scores for the kids who use the computers to supplement their current curriculum. We will have final figures once the pilot concludes. Qualitatively, we are greatly enhancing the educational experience for young children, allowing for a self-directed curriculum to be part of their educational experience. Having a personal computer on which they can create their own content, whether it is simple programs or short text documents, is hugely empowering. This teaches the children to take initiative from an early age and boosts their confidence in their own abilities. For the older students, we provide them tools to enact change in their communities. By watching videos, completing the assignments, and discussing with peers, they generate new ideas about which changes could benefit their community, and how they can carry out those changes.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We are a charity and sell the computers with zero markup cost, allowing us to offer low prices. We rely on school administrators, donors, and governmental organizations to purchase our computers to be used in local schools. Currently we are unparalleled in the quality of computer as well as the content we provide to a rural school without internet. We are confident that this technological superiority will keep demand high for our computers.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Currently there are many initiatives to build schools, educate teachers, and provide more access to education in a traditional classroom setting. However none of these initiatives are easily scalable. Other groups have also attempted to give children computers, but the content was limited and they did not utilize the plethora of available online resources. Our product is technologically unique in that we host a local server that can provide up to a terabyte of content in a classroom, as well as the software platform that integrates existing online content for offline use.

Founding Story

Kasturi, Bode, Ben and I were very interested in developing technological solutions to address problems in underdeveloped areas of the world. All of us are immigrants who have been given many opportunities and we wanted to use our knowledge to empower others in a similar way. Two years age we stumbled on a $35 dollar microchip called the raspberry pi, and thought, wouldn't it be cool to make a cheap computer out of this to give to kids? We started making these computers in our dormrooms. We then met Kathleen, who told us that her charity wanted to purchase these computers to use in a school in Kenya. From there, we contacted suppliers and Coursera, and made 20 units to run a pilot with our custom made curriculum, and assessment metrics.
About You
About You
First Name


Last Name


LinkedIn URL
About Your Organization
Organization Name
Organization Country
Country where this project is creating social impact

, NJ, Princeton

The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..

Full Impact Potential: What are the main spread strategies moving forward? (Please consider geographic spread, policy reform, and independent replication/adoption of the idea or other mechanisms.)
Barriers: What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?
Partnerships: Tell us about your partnerships.

Approximately 75 words left (450 characters).

Closing the Loop
How does your project primarily ensure that feedback delivers results?

Please elaborate on your answer to the above question.
Languages: In what languages are you able to read and write fluently?

2nd Round Questions
Thinking about your feedback loop; what information are you trying to get from whom, to whom, and to bring about what change?
What is the purpose of your feedback loop?

If other, please specify
What mediums or mechanisms do you use to collect feedback? (check all that apply)

If other, please specify
Could you briefly describe the way you collect the feedback?
What mechanisms are in place to protect people from retribution?

If other, please specify
What are the immediate benefits or incentives for people to provide feedback?

If other, please specify
How do you ensure new and marginalized voices are heard?

If other, please specify
What are the incentives for the intended recipient to act on the feedback?

If other, please specify
How does the feedback mechanism close the loop with those who provided feedback in the first place?

If other, please specify
How is feedback published/transparent?

If other, please specify
Give two concrete examples of how feedback loops have brought a program or policy more in line with citizens’ desires.
If there was one thing you could change to increase the impact of your feedback loop, what would it be?
What are your biggest challenges or barriers in “closing the feedback loop”?

If other, please specify
Are you aware of The Feedback Store?

What are the main uses you can envision for the Feedback Store?
What is the one thing you would most like to see changed to improve the competition process?
What are you doing to make sure that feedback providers know that they are empowered by the information they can give and that they know exactly what the information they are providing?


Mumu Anne Shileche's picture

Woow, it nice to learn about your project here.

I come from Kenya and was born in Kakamega. So i am having personal attachment with this project

It is true that access to education is a problem here especially in rural areas like Kakamega.

And access to education materials like books and internet for research is difficult.

Therefore this is one awesome project, how can i help?

Anuradha kumari's picture

Hey good project Mark. Nice one.

It is a nice platform to access knowledge across globe.

Rajeev Kumar's picture

This project have good message in providing knowledge to poor people.

Jack Smith's picture

This project sounds good. Thanks for the share.!

Shankari Kumari's picture

Looks very interesting. Good one.

J Thomson's picture

Sounds great. Thanks for the post.

Michel Lawrence's picture

I like this article , very informative stuffs. Cool

Danial Bell's picture

Hey Mark how much does it cost if i go for Bulk purchase.

Panther Anat's picture

This is very natural scenario , it happens in rural areas, this will definitely help us. Thanks for the share.

Alexter Cook's picture

Looks like Self motivation article, Great one.

Kareena D's picture

This brings lot of scope for children one who lack access schools.

Flosy D's picture
Flosy D /

Yes Kareena is right. Good one.