Sustainable & Social Good Activities for February
Positive news from February
Helping get devices out
February saw us get many more devices out to help those in need. We delivered a further 200 laptops and 65 mobile phones to support refugees living in bridging hotels. This is an area where there remains a great need for digital devices.
We have continued our support for those in need in the Cambridge community, donating mobile phones to Cambridge Street Pastors, whose volunteers patrol the streets from 10pm to 4am on Friday and Saturday nights, providing both a listening ear and practical help to anyone in need. We have also donated further mobiles to It Takes a City to support their work in helping the homeless around Cambridge. Having a means to communicate is often a vital lifeline for those in desperate circumstances.
February saw us partner with Concrete Rose, which provides supported lodgings placements for vulnerable young people (16-21) across Cambridgeshire and beyond. This involves offering safe and nurturing accommodation to young people who face significant challenges, such as being in or leaving the care system, unaccompanied asylum seeking children, young parents and those at risk of homelessness. Our partnership will mean that Concrete Rose can offer a laptop to each young person accommodated, as part of their broader support package.
Kickstart is an innovative recent venture where coffee from Uganda is imported and sold in the UK. All profits go to support the Early Learning School in Entebbe, Uganda, an NGO that looks after orphaned and disadvantaged children from all over the country. This is a fantastic way to help those in need using locally-sourced products. We applaud their great work and are delighted to have been able to support this in a small way with mobile phones and laptops.
Repairing and reusing redundant tech to tackle digital inequality not only enables social good, but also is sustainable, reducing the negative impacts on our environment. Our activities in February saved over 350kg of e-waste and over 50,000kg of CO2 emissions. Helping our environment helps us all, while getting devices to those most in need.
Digital inclusion essential
Digital inclusion may once have been considered optional, and not being online may not have made too much of a material difference to people’s lives. This is very much no longer the case. Broadband access is now seen as an essential utility, like water and electricity. Access to services, shopping, education, and how we interact with each other and the outside world has been moving inexorably online, and the COVID-19 pandemic only served to accelerate this process. The problem is so widespread, and is exacerbated by poverty and a lack of digital skills.
Tackling this issue needs to be a collaboration between government, businesses, councils, charitable organisations and individuals. At Laptops4Learning, we are working hard to help address the lack of devices available, but devices are of no use without connectivity (broadband or mobile data), and the necessary skills to use them. All three of these areas must be addressed. There is so much work to be done, but each person who can interact effectively with the digital world is another person whose life chances and general quality of life is improved.
Getting this help to people is what motivates us to continue what we do, and in supporting organisations with devices, they can make sure these are used effectively to make a real difference to digital inclusion. Resources must be used wisely; there is little point in getting a device to someone who has no idea how to use it, or no connectivity. Together we can make a real difference to people’s lives.
Sue Gowling ~ 01/03/22