At TWAM, unwanted, donated computers find a new lease of life under the skilled hands of Graham and the IT team, as well as our IT team in Rugby.
Graham joined TWAM after he retired from a career in IT. His journey began when he decided to lend his skills to a worthy cause during his retirement. He found TWAM through a volunteering website and soon found himself welcomed into the heart of the charity, which was in need of a skilled IT professional at the time.
Graham has witnessed first-hand how every computer that is donated has the potential to transform lives. "After visiting Zambia, I've seen that this equipment is needed," says Graham, whose dedication sees him volunteering four days a week. "We're empowering people with skills for the future. This is something I love doing."
Behind the scenes, the process of refurbishing computers is meticulous. Each machine is thoroughly inspected and cleaned, and, importantly, its data is securely erased. A fresh version of Windows and a suite of useful software are then installed. It's an endeavour that's making an impact across Africa. Graham and the team refurbish hundreds of computers every year, giving new life to them to benefit trainees and entire communities.
Last year, we managed to send over 800 computers to skills training centres. They give trainees the skills and equipment they need to begin their careers.
"Our work gives people another outlook in life," says Graham, remembering a bright 17-year-old girl in Zambia who received a laptop from TWAM. "She knew that she was heading in the right direction - she has a future now."
The work of our IT teams in Ipswich and Rugby doesn’t just empower people living in extreme poverty – it also helps to reduce electronic waste. Unusable computers or components are recycled, contributing to a more sustainable planet.
However, the IT Refurbishment department still faces challenges. The demand for computers has been growing far faster than anticipated as awareness and use of IT grows in the countries that we support, and the team is always on the lookout for more computers and laptops to refurbish. We often receive large donations of computers from lease companies that are updating their inventory or even schools that are upgrading their IT departments, but this comes in waves and is unpredictable.
So, how can you support the remarkable work being done by Graham and the team, as well as our IT Refurbishment team in Rugby? If you have an unused computer or laptop, consider donating it to TWAM. Your old computer could be the tool that changes a life, the key that unlocks a brighter future for a trainee. Don't worry about data – the team will ensure it's securely erased.
Whether you're an individual or a business upgrading your technology, remember: your computer's journey doesn't have to end. Together, we can turn e-waste into empowerment and hope.
We accept computers or laptops running a minimum of Windows 7 so that they are able to be upgraded and will continue to serve the recipients for years to come. If you have a computer to donate, you can find your nearest collector on our website: twam.uk/donatetools