PEI

UPEI students refurbish, donate computers to Island newcomers

A group of UPEI students have decided to pay it forward by refurbishing donated computers, and donating them to the P.E.I. Association for Newcomers.

'Why not donate them to people who could use them?'

A group of UPEI students refurbished several donated computers, and donated them to the PEI Association for Newcomers. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

A group of UPEI students have decided to pay it forward by refurbishing donated computers, and donating them to the PEI Association for Newcomers.

"They were viable for every day use. Why not donate them to people who could use them?" said Patricia Kibeng, a second year student in UPEI's mathematical and computational sciences program.

The ten computers were originally donated by Sculpin QA, an IT company in Charlottetown, to the UPEI program.

Kibeng said about eight computer science students, along with their professor Chris Vessey, spent six hours over Christmas break to refurbish them.

"I think the idea behind it was that we use computers for everything, and you know, newcomers to P.E.I. might not have the ability to buy their own computer," she said.

The students replaced broken parts and installed a new operating system on the computers.

The donation to the association was then facilitated by UPEI campus minister Sister Sue Kidd.

'Desperately trying to stay in touch with family'

Craig Mackie, executive director at the P.E.I. Association for Newcomers, said the donation was a welcome surprise.

Craig Mackie (left) said computers are valuable to refugee families, who are trying to connect with family back home. Mackie and Fereshteh Shaer (right) are currently reaching out to several refugee families in P.E.I. who might not yet have a computer. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

"We know there are still refugee families moving here, who could use that kind of access to the internet," said Mackie.

Mackie also said refugees rely on computers and internet access to contact family back home.

"People, especially refugee families, are desperately trying to stay in touch with family who are remaining back in the middle east and they're worried about them because they're still not safe," he said. 

Mackie said he hopes to have the donated computers sent out and set up for refugee families within the next four weeks.