01.04.2005 Diaspora News

Computers recycled for Ghanaian kids

By Wood and Vale
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Wood and Vale, UK --AFRICAN school children are benefiting from old computer equipment saved from the scrap heap by a Westbourne Green resident.

Ghanaian-born Olivia Quayson, of Porchester Square, collects the used hardware from local businesses and residents before donating them to Ghana where schools are desperately short of technical resources.

Last month she organised and paid the £700 shipping costs for a consignment of 30 computers destined for five schools in the western province of Asakrangwa. Ms Quayson said it was worth meeting the costs out of her own pocket for such a good cause.

She said: "I told myself I must do something; the children are our future. I sent them to this region as I was born there, but if I can do more I will send them to other places in Ghana. I hope they will give the children some of the privileges we take for granted."

It is a poor rural area, 450 miles from the capital Accra, where people eek out a meagre existence harvesting cocoa. "Farmers get very little for their hard work. They have a very low standard of living," she explained.

Ms Quayson - who has lived in Westbourne Green for 30 years - said she became determined to recycle computers in the developing world after she saw people throwing out their old components several years ago. "I put adverts in local newsletters and asked people by word-of-mouth to donate their old computers when they were upgrading their IT systems," she said.

The ex-textile designer is now a voluntary resident board member with Westminster Council's CityWest Homes. Through her connection she was able to clinch 15 of their six-year-old Pentium Two computers.

Chief executive of CityWest Homes, Brian Johnson, said: "We're thrilled to support children in Ghana. I'm very pleased one of our residents has the initiative to do this."

On Wednesday Westminster Council also pledged to donate up to 500 used library books to the cause. Councillor Sarah Richardson, cabinet member for leisure and lifelong learning, said: "Educational resources in sub-Saharan Africa are often scant and access to books can be grossly inadequate.

Ms Quayson said: "I'm delighted! I would like educational books but also novels to help improve their English."

Anyone who would like to donate their old computer can call 07729 063 408 or email: [email protected]

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