My New Hobby: Making a Difference with Used PCs

A couple of years ago, I found 8 monitors literally lying on the street. They all worked. I gave them to some of my cousins and other people who needed them in my home town. That’s how all of this began.

Then I started calling up my customers and asking them what they do with their old PCs. One of them donated 30 laptops that ended up in a school in Romania where they’re going to be used for a few more years.

The company I worked for donated about 10 PCs. Mrs W’s ex employer got rid of about 15 PCs/laptops and monitors as well. All these things found their way to people who can use them. Some of them ended up in a childrens’ home in my home town where the kids are learning German (and hopefully soon Excel) via Skype.

I hate the idea of letting perfectly functional (and relatively good) PCs/laptops be thrown out, so I have a lot of fun organising the shipments and making sure that they arrive directly where they should. Also, it’s a nice challenge and fun to organise the shipping in such a way that it’s free or costs very little money.

Just a few weeks ago, a former customer called me to say that they are happy to get rid of 25 perfectly functional PCs. I guess they’re just switching to laptops. How cool is that?

The only downside is that I’m driving Mrs W crazy with all the stuff lying around our cellar waiting for me to find a way to ship it. (Note from Mrs W: He’s also driving his parents crazy with all the stuff he has “parked” at their place.)

I also don’t want to give kids a PC just so they can waste time on facebook or play stupid games. I focus on kids who are actually learning software programming. I think it’s just not acceptable that in 2016 there are kids learning to program who don’t have a PC at home because they can’t afford one. WTF?

I really believe in this project and it really feels like I’m making a difference in these kids’ lives. Even though some of them will never become programmers. Some will only play games on them. I know that. But hey, when I got a PC I played games day and night and that was how I learned to use it.

It doesn’t cost much money (sometimes I pay a bit for the shipping though). It only costs me time. And I feel that this time is a lot better invested than if I had to sit in pointless meetings at a job.

Now it’s your turn!

So, here’s is a task for you: ask your company what they do with old monitors, laptops and PCs.  If they have stuff like this, look around you and see who could use it. Don’t let good stuff go to waste! Call a random school in Eastern Europe. I’m sure they could use them to teach future software programmers. If you don’t know what to do with them, ask me for some ideas. This is not bullshit. This is real! Ask your boss and see what happens. Also, please let us know in the comments about the outcome…

Really looking forward to hearing how you get on!

 

  • wow. This is impressive.
    For a moment, I am organising and redistributing clothes and school equipment.
    There are a lot of organizations and friends involved. There are children in
    need – and most dramatically is when I hear a child abandoned the school in October
    because he has no more shoes for winter weather.
    The financial independence is a dream to put more time in volunteering …

    • absolutely. It’s so easy to make a difference. There’s a children’s home in my hometown. I asked them what they need and all they wanted is used shoes and pens for school…so I went back to Germany, spread the word and we got a car full of these things.

      • you collected a car?!?! Wow, really good job, sir. I put several boxes, several times per year. But I can do more 😉

  • findingmarbles

    Just asked my sys admins. Looks promising. I’ll get back to you, once they’ve confered.

    PS: You are not officially gemeinnützig, are you? Because of “Spendenquittung” for transport costs?

    • Hi, I am doing this through a german organisation and they can give a Zuwendungsbescheinigung. Thanks for asking!