What is EduClick? What are the objectives and what is the mission of this project?
EduClick is a platform through which we collect and refurbish used computers, which we then donate to schools from vulnerable communities for digital education. The donated computers are used in the several prospective educational programs, varying from the modernization of computer labs to non-formal education and online courses.
We have a mission to support education, the environment and the communities. EduClick contributes to the digitisation of education in Romania’s most disadvantaged areas, ensuring equal opportunities for children in the educational system and their compliance with modern labor market and civil society criteria. With the Covid-19 crisis, our objectives have been to provide computers to children in rural communities that do not have access to online schooling. According to statistics, one out of every three Romanian children did not have access to online courses when the pandemics started. In addition to the IT equipment needed for T.I.C. or home education, we promote the digitisation of education by providing essential information for teachers to use the equipment to its full potential, through educational webinars with renowned teachers in modern teaching methods.
We take environmental protection and accountability very seriously. We collect IT equipment as electrical and electronic waste in order to be reused or to be recycled. High-performance components are reconditioned and assembled into new computers, while components that are no longer up to date with industry specifications are dismantled and recycled. If we want to evaluate the beneficial impact on the environment, each discarded laptop releases 180 kg of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This is the same volume of CO2 consumed by 9,144 trees or 32 cars removed from traffic for a day.
We pursue the social mission of not failing anyone, particularly those living in vulnerable situations. The devices are collected and refurbished at the EduClick facility, which employs 14 vulnerable people who are able to work but need a period of adjustment before entering the labor market. Long-term unemployment, domestic abuse, addictions, disabilities, sex trafficking, probation, custodial sentences, and homelessness are all issues that all workers face. We work with them on a social and professional level to help them stabilise and eventually integrate into the traditional labor market.
What is the impact of the project on the educational environment?
In terms of numbers, EduClick began 13 years ago and has since donated 20,000 computers to 480,000 students from 2,500 schools and educational institutions throughout Romania. The local background of disadvantaged rural communities reflects that the computers we donate are critical in the short term for providing equitable opportunities for children and adjusting their skills to labor market demands. Long term, we ensured the continuity of students’ studies and prevented thousands of cases of school dropout that might have been unavoidable due to long-term absenteeism.
How many more computers do you need to cover the needs of rural students?
In the year 2020, we issued a request for proposals to social partners and public organisations that work closely with students and teachers to determine where the greatest need for computers exists and to direct donations to those places. More than 400 schools replied to our request, the majority of which wanted to set up a TIC laboratory that was either non-existent or outdated.
The pandemic shifted the allocation of computers. They were sent to schools, and schools sent them to children who didn’t have access to online courses. Teachers were the ones who decided where the devices would go because they were the ones who knew better the situation and the students in need.
By the end of 2021, our goal is to donate 4,000 computers, numbering that we started in October last year. All these computers would cover the needs of 250 applicant schools and 30 000 beneficiaries. Our project, however, continues in the hopes of expanding, collecting, and reconditioning more items in order to assist as many children as possible. And for that we will need individuals, businesses, and sponsors to succeed in this effort.
How companies can contribute to this project?
Companies can help us by either funding part of the cost of refurbishing and donating computers (collection, maintenance, testing, packaging, and direct delivery to the beneficiaries) or by delivering us used computers. Ateliere Fara Frontiere is a WEEE-authorized collector and IT equipment refurbished, holds an ISO certificate for management activity quality standards 9001 and 14001. In other words, instead of being recycled, computers are relisted as valuables, an action that has an environmental impact in accordance with the circular economy’s provisions.
Do you collect other types of WEEE through the platform?
As our workshop colleagues put it, “we collect everything that has a battery and everything that plugs in.” In this context, businesses and individuals can hand over all electrical and electronic waste that is no longer in use to our headquarters on Sos. Oltenitei, no. 105. We come to take them from Bucharest and the surrounding areas if the quantity exceeds 100 kg.