INDEPENDENT NEWS

Teenagers Help Address Tech Equitability

Published: Tue 26 May 2020 10:25 AM
Young Enterprise Scheme startup, Remojo Tech addresses tech equitability among students through lockdown and beyond by providing free laptops to local schools & training students to repair community donated devices. Remojo Tech has managed to train 15 students on how to repair laptops. Over 30 otherwise broken community-donated laptops were distributed as a result, only one day before level 4 lockdown went into effect — to those that did not have a laptop so they can continue schoolwork at home. While this project has been an ongoing effort for over the three years, only now have the issues of BYOD equitability been brought to light.
“We have a strong focus around community partnership, e-waste and tech literacy,” Says Owyn Aitken, director of Remojo Tech’s ‘BYOD in schools’ program.
Remojo Tech is made up of a team of four students attending Aotea College who are part of the Young Enterprise Scheme creating a social enterprise with communal and environmental outcomes. “Remojo Tech was founded as a result, with an aim to be community & customer-facing by teenagers,” says director Hadi Daoud.
“We have chosen to collect donated devices from corporate enterprises and the community to then refurbish so that they can be donated to students in need at our school.”
The issue of device equitability has been brought to the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic with the Education Minister, Hon. Chris Hipkins announcing over 4,500 devices ordered from overseas to be distributed to students. Remojo Tech has devised it’s own long-term grassroots solution. By collecting otherwise broken laptops from the community, and training a team of 15 students to repair devices with nothing more than a screwdriver, free devices can be given to all students that need them.
"The digital divide wasn't created by COVID-19 but I guess it's been laid bare by COVID-19 and we're working as quickly as we can to close that gap," says Minister Hipkins.
With e-waste becoming a growing problem in Aotearoa Remojo Tech seeks to reduce the number of devices being disposed of and in doing so, enable students in need of devices, to learn alongside their peers in a school environment — which are becoming increasingly dependent on the BYOD learning model. Remojo Tech hopes to support the current governments’ efforts in realising their goals to bridge the digital divide.
Since its inception, this program has made rounds over the internet, with Remojo Tech being published by CNN subsidiary Great Big story here, with another article published about the program here.
“In the future, we hope to expand our program to schools across the Wellington region. On the business side of things, devices in high cosmetic condition are sold at a heavily discounted cost to members of the community so as to meet refurbishment costs and make the business viable.”
“We’d value any support corporations can offer in the way of devices or support to expand this program. We strive to recognise all partners and donors”
Follow Remojo Tech on Instagram and Facebook @remojo.tech or visit their website www.remojo.tech to learn more.

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