Laptops for Charity
Disclaimer: – This note was written by me (Mayank Nauni) in my personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are solely my own and do not reflect the view of my employer or my preference towards any of the organization.
Last week, my friend called me and asked me if I was using my old laptop anymore, I was wondering what would he do with an old and bulky laptop, he explained to me as how valuable this “old” laptop is for some student in a low-income family in developed, developing or under-developed nation. He was intending to install open source OS and software on it and share it with an under-privilege student, such a noble deed it is.
I personally had three unused laptops in my home, I was wondering if it is an average number of e-waste in our homes, wouldn’t it be an enormous problem if not dealt correctly? Wouldn’t recycling be a perfect answer to it?
I started thinking to myself that wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could turn this idea into a non-profit organization and start collecting laptops and shipping them to under-privileged students in the developed, developing and underdeveloped nations.
I strongly believe that technology plays an instrumental role in growth and development of any nation. It plays a vital role in capital generation, economic growth, improvement of the quality of life and transformation in any society. Needless to say, a laptop can change lives if used correctly.
I read an extremely helpful paper on “The roles of science and technology in national development”.
Another fantastic paper from Harvard Business Review, “Can Technology End Poverty? “
But, easier said than done, I started charting out the steps to set the ball rolling, would look forward to your feedback to make it comprehensive and realistic.
- Chart out the objective Clearly
- Need to clearly establish as what problem are we trying to solve (enabling the under privilege, reducing e-waste by promoting recycling etc.), in case there are similar initiatives in that geography it would be prolific to join them & share a concrete plan rather than reinventing the wheel.
- Who are we targeting, need to establish the baselines to qualify as who is eligible for this program
- Choose a name for the initiative (Laptop for Charities … too basic?)
- Register the Non-Profit Organization
- Call for volunteers
- Draw a detailed organization structure, per geography, chart out roles and responsibilities).
- Setup local contact points in the Geographies
- Start Small from Singapore, Prove the methodology, improvise and go big
- The local contacts will setup an always open channel with the beneficiaries to ensure that they are benefiting from this initiative
- Collect laptops
- The target donators would be individuals, universities and enterprises (discarding their old assets)
- Clean personal data
- Install open source Operating System and open source based software
- Tie-up with online education portals to stream or pre-package basic learning videos in the base image for the laptops (no point of laptops if beneficiaries don’t know what to do with them)
- Seek help / sponsorship from the shipping companies
- As a part of their corporate responsibilities, I am certain that most of the shipping companies would be coming forward to ship the laptops at minimal or no cost to the beneficiaries.
- Expand to the developing ASEAN countries
Are you interested in joining this discussion and suggest points to turn this idea into reality, join me on the slack channel below:-