Some say one man’s trash is another’s treasure. This saying may never ring as true as it does when applied to computers given to schoolchildren in Timor-Leste.
When a Kiwanis member and employee of Bell Potter, a securities and financial analysis company, learned of the company’s amalgamation, she knew exactly where to send the 180 leftover desktop computers as the company consolidated its inventory. After the strife in 1999 that brought Timor-Leste (also known as East Timor) independence, the Kiwanis' Australia District-in-Formation received a request for help and responded with a 10-year long program that provided milk for the children in Timor-Leste. Using these connections, project coordinator Kevin Wood quickly gave the Bell Potter computers a new home.
“Having been there many times and being harangued by the local students asking about access to computer learning, I am both excited and very humbled at this giant leap in their education prospects,” Wood says.
Coordinating multiple trips with a moving company that donated its time to the projects, a small group packaged, delivered and installed computers at a handful of carefully selected work locations, the dairy and the Salesians of Don Bosco Colleges in Fuiloro, Comoro, Laga, Lospalos and Maliana—several of which are known for providing the bulk of the new nation’s public servants.
Father Jose shares Wood’s positivity about the outcomes possible as a result of the donation. “Yes, the computers organized by Kevin are a great boon to our students. For the first time many of them got an opportunity to touch a computer. They’re just learning.” –Courtney Meyer