Our Contributor Program proposal

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Here’s a brief version of our Contributor Program proposal. We are pleased to announce that we were awarded two OLPC XO 1.5 units for Tuva!

Name of Project


Number of Laptops (or other hardware) You Request to Borrow:

2 XO 1.5 laptops.

Loan Length—How Many Months:

12 months.

Team Participants

  • Khürgülek “KK” Ondar
  • Olga Budu
  • Stacey Borsody
  • Ralph Leighton
  • Sameer Verma

Employer and/or School:

  • KK Ondar: Student, College of Marin, CA and Tuvan State University, Kyzyl, Tuva, Russian Federation
  • Olga Budu, native Tuvan and student at UC Berkeley (International development studies).
  • Stacey Borsody, Drupal and Media wiki contributor for Tuvan translation
  • Ralph Leighton:- Founder, Friends of Tuva  http://www.fotuva.org/
  • Sameer Verma is Associate professor at San Francisco State University and organizer of OLPC San Francisco.

Past Experience/Qualifications:

  • Khürgülek Ondar is a student majoring in English at the Tuvan State University in Kyzyl, Tuva, Russian Federation. In May of 2011 she completed a semester of the Intensive English Program at College of Marin in Novato, California. Her father, throat-singer Kongar-ol Ondar, is a national artist of Russia and has many contacts in Tuva.
  • Olga Budu native Tuvan speaker and translator, who lives and goes to school in San Francisco.
  • Stacey Borsody, translator for Tuvan in Drupal and Mediawiki projects.
  • Ralph Leighton became interested in Tuva in 1977 through his association with the late physicist Richard Feynman. Leighton has been a teacher in elementary- and secondary education. http://www.fotuva.org/
  • Sameer Verma is the chief organizer of OLPC San Francisco (http://olpcsf.org) and OLPC Jamaica (http://olpcjamaica.org.jm). He also runs projects micro deployments in India, and Madagascar. He has contributed to language translations in Hindi for Sugarlabs and helped start the translation project on Armenian, in conjunction with San Francisco State University and the American University of Armenia. He is the current “placeholder” admin for Tuvan on translate.sugarlabs.org


Primary project will be: Translation of the Sugar learning platform into Tuvan (where appropriate)

Secondary project will be to incorporate Measure activity into the study of throat-singing tradition from Tuva.

Plan of Action

Plan and Procedure for Achieving the Stated Objectives:

  • KK will travel back to Tuva in May and will take the two XO 1.5 laptops with her.
  • KK will form a team with two teachers in Tuva.
  • Olga and Stacey will continue with translation in San Francisco
  • We will also reach out to another translator team in San Francisco, that is active in Drupal and MediaWiki translation from English to Tuvan. Note: Tuvan translators are hard to come by!


Why is this project needed?

Overall goal is to expand the reach of information into remote Tuvan communities.


  • Introduce Sugar to Tuvan schools and children in resource-constrained environments.
  • Documentation and presentation of Tuvan culture and heritage of music and singing

In the greater OLPC/Sugar community?

Assist with translation of Sugar into Tuvan. It appears that Drupal and MediaWiki are the only projects that have attempted to translate a few strings into Tuvan. Translation talent is rare, but we have access to it in San Francisco and in Kyzyl, Tuva.

Outside the community?

Continue education and demystification of Tuva and its culture.

Why can’t this project be done in emulation using non-XO machines?

The measure activity works best on a XO machine and we would like to incorporate the frequency measurements of throat-singing into class activities.

We are asking for two laptops to jumpstart the project. We could do with one, but as in the case of Armenia, we learned that the radio on one of the machines died in two weeks, so we want some redundancy built into the proposal. We would prefer new XO 1.5 machines.

Sharing Deliverables

How will you convey tentative ideas & results back to the OLPC/Sugar community, prior to completion?

Blog, mailing list and OLPC SF.

How will the final fruits of your labor be distributed to children or community members worldwide?

Translations will be up on translate.sugarlabs.org All other materials will be on the blog and wiki.laptop.org

Will your work have any possible application or use outside our community?

Some translations will overlap into Drupal and MediaWiki. Maybe even GNOME, eventually.

If yes, how will these people be reached?

Blog, mailing lists, translate.sugarlabs.org

Have you investigated working with nearby XO Lending Libraries or Project Groups?

Yes, and we may use the SFSU lending library to assist with work done in San Francisco. There are no lending libraries in Tuva.


Would your Project benefit from Support, Documentation and/or Testing people?

Teachers’ input into Usability?

We plan on working with a group of teachers in Kyzyl, Tuva.

How will you promote your work?

Blog on https://olpctuva.wordpress.com/

We will be working with Sameer Verma, who is an experienced volunteer with OLPC and Sugar communities. He will provide mentoring to this project.

Timeline (Start to Finish)

Please include a Proposed timeline for your Project life-cycle: (this can be in the form of Month 1, Month 2, etc rather than specific dates) Include a couple milestones, even if tentative.

  • KK will travel back to Tuva in May and will take the two XO 1.5 laptops with her.
  • KK will form a team with two teachers in Tuva.
  • Olga and Stacey will continue with translation in San Francisco
  • We will also reach out to another translator team in San Francisco, that is active in the Drupal translation from English to Tuvan.

[X ] I agree to pass on the laptop(s) to a local OLPC group or other interested contributors in case I do not have need for the laptop(s) anymore or in case my project progress stalls.


Where in the world is Tuva?


People often mistake Tuva for Tuvalu (you know who you are!). So, where is Tuva exactly? Here. Check us out 🙂

Where's Tuva?

Where's Tuva?

Prepping the team


As KK (as Khürgülek Ondar goes by) gets ready to head back to Tuva, we decided to set up a training session on the Sugar UI, and collaboration between two XOs. I drove up to the rendezvous point (Ralph’s house), and saw a car with license plates “TANU2VA”. I knew I was there.

We also had Isabella Kleider and June Kleider of the Maroantsetra (Madagascar) project to help KK navigate the issues of questions children ask, training the teachers, and overall familiarity of the XO and Sugar. The session went fantastically with Tuvan salt tea, custom pizzas made by the resident pizza chef Nicole, and collaboration sessions with Chat activity, Write activity, and the famous Distance activity. Ralph has some instructional videos that we’ll put up soon.

Onward to Tuva!

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1 Comment

Welcome to our new blog.  We’re just getting started.  Went to the olpcsf monthly meeting today and met everyone involved in the project.  Got a clearer idea of what is needed.  Here’s the link to the translation site.