GCSD has approximately 40 laptops that have been removed from inventory and rolled out of commission due to their age and the fact that they are no longer under any kind of warranty. In the past, GCSD has held public surplus auctions to dispose of old computers that have reached the end of their lives. "Three years ago, we auctioned off surplus computers for as low as $1 each, but now we are finding a lot more value in them," says Darren Wilson, GCSD Technology Director
GCSD is partnering with two schools in Kenya, East Africa that are desperate for computers. These schools, located in Nairobi and Kisumu, Kenya, are open to students 14-18 years old who have been orphaned or are from families living in extreme poverty. These schools use computers to teach business skills like accounting and budgeting as well as how to design menus, posters and flyers and even photography. Without donated equipment, these students wouldn't have the opportunity to learn to use a computer at all.
GCSD has developed a contract with these two partner schools to send the decommissioned laptops to Kenya to be used for educational purposes there. "The Kenyan school administrators and instructors are happy to accept these laptops, even if they show signs of age and years of use. They are very resourceful and committed to providing a high quality education to the students they serve," says Wilson.
GCSD superintendent Nelson Coulter says, "Our Guthrie students are learning that they have something to offer to the world, even if they live in a remote area themselves. The world is flatter now, and neither our students, nor the students in Kenya need to be isolated by geography. We want children in Guthrie to learn to become entrepreneurial, self-directed and risk taking. Projects like this laptop refurbishing project fit well within the scope of teaching these things."
The laptops the GHS students are working on will be sent to Kenya as soon as they are ready. "Our students, all of the sudden, are highly motivated to learn quickly and do a good job, because they know that the work they do each week will make someone's life better. We're pretty proud of them." added Wilson. GHS students will be sending the first seven refurbished laptops to Kenya later this week.
The students are relying on donations to cover the cost of purchasing needed replacement parts for some of these computers. If you would like to make a donation to help cover the cost of replacement parts or shipping these laptops to Kenya, visit the class website at www.TheBlackBoxStudio.weebly.com.
To learn more about the Kenyan schools that will be receiving and using the refurbished laptops, please visit: www.kctsministries.org and www.madeinthestreets.org.