Recent research in Ireland indicates that a half a million computers are discarded here every year, at least half of which are fit for reuse and certainly good enough to learn computing skills on.
Camara Education are an small but dynamic Irish Charity who collect discarded Computer Hardware and, after thoroughly wiping all existing data, supply the refurbished computer to be reused in an African school. Over the past seven years, Camara have provided 35,000 computers to schools, trained over 8,000 local teachers and given half a million African children an essential first step on becoming better educated: they have become digitally literate.
Carlowman Frank Neenan has been involved with Camara since 2009, when using skills and training gained in Braun, began working as a volunteer with Camara. This led to two volunteer assignments teaching computer skills in Africa to local schoolteachers, and by 2011 Frank had been appointed Camara’s Production Manager, responsible for delivering up to one thousand reusable computers a month to schools and community training groups.
“The idea is really simple”, explained Frank recently. “We are throwing away something that is in perfect working order, or can be restored to working order, simply because it isn’t the most up to date model. Meanwhile, schools in Africa cannot afford to buy new equipment, and the children are coming out of school without the essential computer skills we take for granted. So why not collect the equipment here, rework it, and supply it on a not-for-profit basis?”
Friends of Camara are organising a free drop off for business and individuals in Carlow, beside White’s Pharmacy on Tullow Street on Jan 4th and 5th 2013. They will take old computers, laptops, monitors and peripherals: keyboards, power cables and mice are all reused.
“People are rightly concerned about their personal or commercial data, but we can take care of that,” Frank added. “We wipe computers for several Government departments, large Financial Institutions, Insurance companies, Multinationals, Commercial companies, schools and individuals. We wipe computers to a recognised International standard, and when the process is finished, no one, not even the best CSI team in the world could find anything. Your old data is gone for ever. And you will have given some children an invaluable educational opportunity by simply giving away something you were throwing away anyway”