Acacia Foundation | Haitham Alaini | Acacia Foundation small educational projects in Yemen

Low energy, low cost educational devices

...from passive consumers to building knowledge through experimentation...

Can the Raspberry Pi low-cost device help deliver education and bridge the technology gap in Yemeni primary rural schools?

From a technological standpoint, the rural landscape in Yemen is immensely resource challenged, inadequate and unstable electrical current and no Internet connectivity, two factors that are important for most school projects involving science and technology.

Raspberry Pi (Raspberry Pi Foundation ) is by now well known for its low-cost, low energy consumption device. The device has shown its potential in the primary and secondary educational sectors in many countries.

The third version of Raspberry Pi is out and we took it for a spin. 1. We mainly wanted to see how it would work under unstable or complete lack of electrical current. 2.How easy it is to add Arabic language to the system? 3.Can it be used with popular educational software? 4. What value would it have in an offline mode in remote areas?

The device itself is tiny, as seen in the picture next to a standard USB computer mouse. We got an additional translucent enclosure and a fan. The fan is generally not needed, but in a hot climate such as in Yemen it might be useful.

  • The overall price of the enclosure and the fan did not exceed USD 8.00 adding that to the price of the device of about USD 35.00 it represents an exceptionally attractive value as opposed to the standard lower end computers. (adding to that general purpose input-output (GPIO) connectors)

    Installing the OS ( with NOOBS ) was a straight forward process by downloading the OS to an microSD card.

    Using Arabic through LibreOffice ( complete office suit with applications such as Writer (word processing), Calc (spreadsheets), Impress (presentations), Draw (vector graphics and flowcharts), Base (databases), and Math (formula editing). ) was an easy task, all we needed to do is to install an Arabic extension for LiberOffice. which can be found here

  • Acacia foundation Yemen, small educational projects
  • Opening, writing and saving documents in Word format (doc, docx ) was snappy and went off without a hitch.



    • Acacia foundation Yemen, small educational projects
    • Acacia foundation Yemen, small educational projects in Yemen

    The built-in Bluetooth ( BLE low energy ) and the integrated WiFI was efficient in connecting to various device and mobile phones. The OS already comes with Python, JAVA and Scratch for programming classes. The Raspberry Pi 3 features the same 40-pin general-purpose input-output (GPIO).

    We tried general video playback using (.avi ) format with OXMPlayer and it performed beautifully on a 24inch (direct HDMI connection) screen. We also went on to install GIMP ( an alternative to photoshop for GNU/Linux ) which performed flawlessly on the Broadcom VideoCore IV. Now we were really impressed.

    Offline Test

    Arabic learning material is already available with KAlite at the Foundation for Learning Equality, an offline version of Khan Academy that includes instructional videos on math, science, history, economics and matches the common core standards. ( can be found here )

    For various school projects an external battery pack is sufficent enough, depending on connected periferials. Because of its low power consumption the device can also run on a battery connected to a solar panel which is a solution for remote areas where electrical power is disrupted or non present.

  • Yemen, small educational projects, Acacia Foundation
  • Various school science and technology projects are extremely fun to do with a Raspberry Pi. The official site gives many examples with informative tutorials, from making a security camera to a local weather station. ( example tutorial )

    "...Trying to turn children from mainly being passive consumers of technology to actually making things themselves and building knowledge through experimentation has always been a challenge. It was either expensive, requiring a lot of different equipment, or complicated and required teacher training that sometimes took many months to complete. Raspberry Pi might have made that task a whole lot easier. Most importantly, accessible to all..."

    - Haitham Alaini, Founder, Acacia Foundation

    Additional information can be viewed at

    ——Some real world examples using Raspberry Pi:


    The future of learning: teaming up with Unicef

    Raspberry Pi helps drive education in Tanzania

    Why the Raspberry Pi is the most important teaching tool a school can own