RAD is urgently seeking donations of second-hand laptops and funds to meet growing community need
A new initiative has launched which aims to solve one of New Zealand’s most pressing problems – how to ensure that every New Zealander has the tools needed to keep up in today’s digital world.
Recycle A Device (RAD) takes second-hand laptops donated by businesses and households; teaches local high school students to refurbish them; and then gets them into the hands of those who need them the most.
The result is an end-to-end process of device collection, refurbishment, distribution and disposal that enhances digital equity at every level – providing highly sought-after tools, access and skills; while also offering the added environmental benefit of diverting e-waste from landfill by giving these laptops a second life.
Spark Foundation Lead, Kate Thomas, says that as Aotearoa grapples with the on-going effects of Covid-19, the need to shift online for everything from banking to schooling, makes accelerating digital equity essential and more urgent.
“People without a device at home have to use public computers at local libraries or community centres but these are closed during Covid-19 lockdowns when the need for access is more important than ever,” says Thomas.
“Feedback from communities most impacted is that access to appropriate devices is a huge barrier. A mobile device alone isn't enough to support a large household. And when it comes to specific activities like online learning, it’s hard to keep up when there are multiple school-aged children in a household who have to share one laptop.”