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"Donating old computer systems instead of throwing them away could indeed help to improve staff morale," said Nick Pye, hardware support manager at Tokyo Mitsubishi International. The bank donated 250 Pentium PCs to Computer Aid International earlier this year.
In most developing countries 99% of children leave school without ever touching a computer in the classroom, according to the charity's estimates. There is enormous demand for refurbished computers in these countries and, through Computer Aid International, companies such as Tokyo Mitsubishi are able to donate their old hardware to the schools that need them.
Pye said it was easier to let the charity have the equipment than scrap it. "Making such donations of IT equipment is felt by all to be a worthwhile way to handle our disposal requirements. Because good use can be made of the items donated, we feel are acting in a responsible manner," he said.
New computers in developing countries are often more expensive than in the West and the price of even one new PC is prohibitive for most schools in sub-Saharan Africa. For the price of just one new PC, Computer Aid International can supply 20 quality, refurbished machines.
Tony Roberts, director of the charity, said, "End-of-life PCs are worthless to most companies, but invaluable to school children. Companies have written down the value of their redundant computers to nil and all they see is a headache in getting rid of their old kit. We can take care of the headaches, while at the same time ensuring that the PCs go to very good causes."