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Charity seeks secondhand Pentium PCs for refurbishment

Old business computers wanted for developing countries

Computer Aid International is relaunching its campaign to encourage businesses and the public sector to donate old Pentium PCs to be sent on to the developing world.

The charity, which is the world's largest non-profit supplier of refurbished PCs, hopes to build on the success of an appeal it ran in June 02, which netted the organisation 5,000 unwanted PCs. These are then refurbished and shipped out to developing countries to help decrease the technology gap between the first and third worlds.

"Donations [from the last appeal] have already made a huge difference to thousands of lives. However, there is still an enormous demand for refurbished computers in developing countries where 99 percent of children leave school without ever touching a computer in the classroom", explains Tony Roberts, director of CAI.

It plans to move to larger premises so it can handle more computers, and aims to achieve donations of 15,000 Pentium PCs with this latest appeal. While this might seem like a huge number of computers, around 1.5 million working Pentium computers are simply thrown away in the UK every year. So rather than clutter up landfills with old PCs, CAI wants businesses to do a little good with their old kit by passing it on to less fortunate countries.

The cost of new PCs is prohibitive in poorer countries so recycling old computers really makes sense, particularly as the build-up of techno garbage is becoming a problem for the developed world. CAI says for the price of just one new computer it can collect, test, refurbish and ship 20 Pentium PCs.

To ensure that no sensitive data is passed on with the old PCs CAI erases all information stored on the hard drive using Sanitizer software, which has been approved by the US Department of Defense.

The donation campaign which is only looking for Pentium-based systems is aimed at business users who can call a special enquiry hotline on 020 7281 0091 or visit the CAI website, or send an email.

Individuals can donate old PCs if they wish, but they need to arrange delivery of their computer to CAI's premises in either London or Southampton. You can also donate money or volunteer to help out in the warehouse.

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