Reviving Devices and Dreams

December 8, 2022

School students work on reviving digital devices.

One million New Zealanders are impacted by the digital divide – a gap that exists between those who have access to the internet, a device, and the skills to use them, and those who don’t or can’t. An initiative by our partner charity, Digital Future Aotearoa, is helping bridge the digital divide by getting laptops to where they’re needed most, so everyone is empowered to participate in education, the economy and everyday life.

The Recycle a Device (RAD) programme matches those who need a laptop with a donated and refurbished device. Recipients are able to access the resources and support required for employment, education, cultural expression and general participation in society. The programme has three key benefits; it teaches young people tech engineering and STEM skills to refurbish laptops, reduces e-waste and gets devices into the hands of people in need like Sarah*.

Sarah wanted more from life, but for every step forward, it felt like there were two steps back.  Aged 24, she exited an abusive relationship with the father of her 3 kids, all aged under 5 and was supported by a social services agency in her area. During a visit from her support person, she shared that she had aspirations of becoming an interior designer, but couldn’t see how that dream could become reality. She needed help with child care, and didn’t have the ability to join an online course as she couldn’t afford a laptop or WiFi.

Sarah’s support person knew that the agency had recently entered a partnership with Recycle a Device, so was able to connect in with the RAD team to gift Sarah a refurbished laptop, and with Skinny Jump to get subsidised WiFi. They sat together, buzzing, and enrolled Sarah in a self-paced, online, interior design course.

“For the first time in years I am excited about what this year will bring, and this laptop will enable me to study, which I haven’t been able to do with my kids at home so far.”

Without the generous support from One Percent Collective, Sarah would not be on the path to changing her life and the lives of her 3 kids.

Words and images supplied by Digital Future Aotearoa.

*Name changed to respect privacy.

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