After a rocky beginning, the nonprofit group One Laptop Per Child thinks an advertising campaign will give a lift to the organization’s effort to place low-cost laptops in the hands of children in developing nations, reports the New York Times. About 500,000 of the group’s light and rugged machines are being used in 31 countries, including Afghanistan, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Lebanon, Peru, Rwanda, and Uruguay. But the cost of the laptops, at less than $200 each, has been prohibitively high for many countries, and the number of laptops distributed has fallen short of early projections. An additional 500,000 of these XO laptops are in transit or being built and should be in use by early next year, said Nicholas Negroponte, chairman of the project. The marketing campaign seeks to sharply increase those numbers. Television time, billboard space, and magazine pages are being donated by media companies, including News Corp., CBS, and Time Warner. The goal, Negroponte says, is greatly increasing the donation program, "Give a Laptop. Get a Laptop. Change the World." For $399, a person can donate an XO laptop and also receive one. Or donors can simply donate $199, to give a child a laptop, at www.amazon.com/xo. The advertising time is donated, and the spots are expected to start conversations. One spot is an uplifting vision of a 7-year-old girl in a South African township, sitting in a dark room, her face lighted only by the laptop’s glow. "With education, we will solve our own problems," she says. Another TV spot says children learn quickly, whatever their tools of survival are–whether loading an AK-47 or mastering an XO laptop…

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