Edmonton

Syrian refugees to be provided with computers thanks to Facebook group

If you have a not-too-old computer lying around, there's a group of volunteers that wants it for Syrian refugees arriving in Edmonton.

'I know socks are important in Canada in winter, but computers are really important'

A Facebook group is looking for laptops and desktops which it will refurbish for use by Syrian refugees.

If you have a not-too-old computer lying around, there's a group of volunteers that wants it for Syrian refugees arriving in Edmonton.

A group is taking donations of computers that can be refurbished and given to refugee families arriving here.

"People were giving away a lot of socks, and I know socks are important in Canada in winter, but computers are really important," said John Grierson with the Facebook group Computers for Refugees.

"When people arrive, hopefully we can have them in their welcome package," he said.

The group is looking for laptops and desktops running Windows 7 or OS X Snow Leopard or later.

"They're just the same as us and we need computers," Grierson said. "Kids in school, adults who want to check their Facebook page, people who want to let folks back home know they're safe, people who want the latest news in Syria."

There is no place to store the computers so the group is gathering names of people who have computers to donate, and will make contact as refugee families arrive and their needs identified, he said.

Contact with the group can be made through their Facebook page.

The group is working with Catholic Social Services and the Edmonton Mennonite Centre For Newcomers, Grierson said.

Eight people have contacted the group since it set up the page Dec. 12, providing four computers that meet the criteria.

Grierson said the group is looking for more volunteers to help with the refurbishing and driving around to pick up donated computers.

"I'm a bit tech savvy myself," Grierson said. "I'm a computer guy and some of our volunteers will help us do that (refurbish); it's really simple."

He doesn't have a goal in terms of how many computers he hopes to collect, but will simply gather and distribute them, until there's no longer a need, he said.

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