Computers for the Poor: An Introduction

At Achieve Goals, we believe providing resources to help people succeed is sometimes as critical as providing information.  One such critical resources are computers.  We have found a way to make computing resources available to the poor — by recycling of unwanted computers.  It’s a rare win-win-win situation:

  1. Companies and donors get to dispose their unwanted equipment responsibly.
  2. Instead of being prematurely discarded, these equipment will see their useful lives extended.  This is great news for the environment.
  3. The poor can get the computers and expand their educational and career opportunities.

In the past week, we installed 5 PCs at a low-income apartment so kids can do their homework.  We also gave away 9 laptops to needy students.  We are currently refurbishing about 10 laptops, most of which will go to a Kenyan orphanage (including 4 orphans going into college this year).  These laptops may be old — IBM and Lenovo laptops from 6 to 10 years ago — but they still run very well.

You may wonder how can really old computers be used?  The key is to use an operating system that’s not as demanding as Windows.  For the oldest units and units meant to be used in a computer lab, we put in Edubuntu, an educational version of the popular Ubuntu, which is a variant of Linux.  For those that are capable of running Windows 10, we do a fresh installation of Windows 10 with their Windows 7 codes.  (But this is possible until until 7/28/16…)

The process is relatively simple.  We’ll post more instructions and some pictures in the coming weeks.

But many of the donated machines are lacking in memory, hard drive, or chargers.  That means we play the salvage game or buy such parts to make more units operational.  If you would like to help us buy memory, hard drives, chargers or other necessary parts, please donate via the button below and indicate “Computers for the Poor” in the Purpose field.  If you are a manufacturer and are interested in donating related equipment, please contact us at donations [at] achievegoals.org .

This could also be a business opportunity for someone willing to do the hard work.  Get unwanted equipment, refurbish them, and sell them at below-the-market prices.  Places like eBay are great markets for such exchanges.