14 May 2020

This Is IT mentioned in The Age

Andrew Simmons leads an organisation in Melbourne's outer south-east that has just launched a partnership with local businesses that are donating used laptops to students in disadvantaged schools.

Mr Simmons said it was originally proposed to run a breakfast club.

“I thought, that’s great, we could give the kids some food, but there are some bigger issues we could tackle,” he says.

So the chief executive of the South East Local Learning and Employment Network spoke to school principals in the municipalities of Dandenong, Casey and Cardinia, who urged him to run with his second idea, to repurpose and donate laptops that were headed for the scrapheap.

“I spoke to schools and they said, this could be a real game changer,” Mr Simmons said. The network handed out its first batch of 120 laptops to secondary school students on Friday.

The students have been selected from government schools that have a high degree of socioeconomic disadvantage. Teachers and principals identified the students who are unable to afford a laptop and therefore restricted in their access to education.

Mr Simmons said the network was hoping to gain some funding for its initiative. “We’re running on zero money; it’s volunteers standing around a table repurposing laptops," he said.

Please click the link if you wish to read the remainder of the article: The Age.

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Students collecting their new laptops