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Activism

Your RORA idea: Could old computers breathe new life into communities?

Reader Jenny Mindell wonders whether community projects to recycle old computers could be good for more than just the environment

Hi,

I have just ordered a new computer to replace my seven-year-old one. The current one works perfectly and could easily be used by someone in the ‘Catch 22’ described in the recent edition [1432] of The Big Issue.

I have had to change it because it uses an operating system that is no longer secure so I am not allowed to log on through a VPN to my university to access shared folders.

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I thought that if someone can arrange collection points or collect them directly then:

  • People like me could donate unwanted but usable computer (or other) equipment
  • People with IT skills who are on furlough or are retired could volunteer their time to update these or to train others to do so
  • Unemployed people (but not necessarily ballet dancers!) could be given IT skills to learn how to repair or update computers
  • People who don’t have a computer but need one to apply for jobs or to do schoolwork or university course work during lockdown could be given these computers as a gift or on longterm loan.

Maybe the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation would donate Windows 10 operating systems and/or Microsoft Office software? Or sell it at a substantial reduction? I’d be happy to pay for mine to be updated but having bought a replacement, it can still go to someone who needs it.

Jenny Mindell

Do you have your own big ideas on how we can prevent homelessness and protect jobs in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic? Let us know at rora@bigissue.com

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