Q: What's the history of PCs4Schools?
A: PCs4Schools was started informally in 2004 as a special project for MDMC, Inc and was run out of Bill's garage in Singapore and funded from Bill's own pocket. Despite the low amount of funds available, over 200 computers were donated to needy groups in Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia in the first year. This was due to the high level of support and volunteer work from MDMC. We are now ramping up to increase this volume by 10 fold.
Q: What is your minimum standard for the PCs you accept?
A: We will accept any working PC as we have schools that are in such desperate need that they just want something that will run the most basic programs. A kid with no computer is very happy to get a Pentium 1 with 512K memory and a 20 gig hard drive. We also need repair and replacement parts. These cases are reviewed on case by case basis.
Q: How do you qualify the recipients?
A: Most of our donations go to registered schools who are accredited and they follow a strict agreement on who, how and where the computers will be used. Follow up monitoring is conducted on all donations. Some of the very poor rural schools are set up by the local village and don't have proper accreditation. For them, we do a thorough background check on the leaders, teachers and village elders to assure that there is a need, that they can maintain the PCs and that they will be used appropriately.
Q: As a donator, how do I know my PCs are actually getting to the schools?
A: When we collect the PCs, we will log all equipment into our database and will track all components from collection, to our depot, to reconditioning, to the warehouse and all points until it arrives at it's destination. A full inventory of all donated PC's will be available to the donator. The databases and web interface are courtesy of a donation from Cloud Garage, one of our local supporters.
We also will assist the donator with any publicity such as erecting their corporate banner and getting pictures when we present the computers to the school. Thanks you letters and stories of how they have benefited from the donations are also encouraged.
Q: Are you an officially registered charity with tax free status?
A: PCs4Schools is in the process of incorporating and attaining tax free status. Until that is accomplished, we are partnering with other local charities who have tax free status. This affords us the chance to offer tax breaks to donators and we compliment the other charitable causes with PC donations.
Q: Why do you spend your time doing this charity work?
A: Computers are being broken down for their heavy metals and toxic components which is polluting our environment. At the same time, there are kids in schools with no computers or a chance to learn how to operate a computer. We can solve both problems with the programs we support.
Q: What can I do to help?
A: Email bill@PCs4Schools.com and he will be sure to find something you can do to help. ;-) We will need volunteers to collect donations, test and install new OS, and assist in shipping.
If you are part of a medium to large company, contact your internal department who is in charge of disposing of old computers. See if they have an environmentally friendly plan. If not, let us know and we will help them set one up.
If you know of a school in Asia that needs computers, let us know.