Repurposing computers for good

Do you have an old computer that is not compatible with Windows11? Do you want to donate it to a good cause?

If the answer is yes, you might be interested in the Rotary Chadstone/East Malvern Computer Drive Program, a community initiative to refurbish and upgrade old computers and then prepare them for a second life.

The Rotary Computer Drive Program is a collaboration between the Rotary Club of Chadstone/East Malvern, Vic, several local schools, and charitable organisations within the community. The project collects old computers from donors and volunteers and installs ChromeOS. These lightweight operating systems run cloud apps, allowing users to access various web-based applications and services.

The program wipes all traces of the previous owner’s information and then upgrades the old computer hardware, ensuring they have at least 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD drives. These are the recommended minimum requirements for running ChromeOS smoothly and efficiently. It is a quick, cheap fix.

The project replaces broken or damaged parts, so the less fortunate who are recipients can use them to assist with education, training, connecting with family, and seeking employment.

The Rotary Chadstone/East Malvern Laptop Program has been successful in providing laptops to recipient’s rehoused by Avalon Centre and Southport Housing tenants. The project aims to bridge the digital divide and enable people with technology.

If the computer is eligible to run Windows11, then 16GB RAM and 500GB SSD are installed to ensure there is enough storage to run its apps and programs. Donated computers that are too old or not worth fixing are sent to Good Guys or Officeworks for recycling.

The Rotary Computer Drive Project demonstrates how old computers can be given a new life and purpose. Also, by using cloud-based operating systems, the project reduces the environmental impact of e-waste and saves energy.

MAIN PICTURE: Members of the youth team at Southport Housing receiving reconditioned laptops from the Rotary Club of Chadstone/East Malvern’s Computer Drive Program. The donated laptops mean the homeless youth housed by the organisation can access the internet to apply for jobs or study.