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Heroes Unmasked: They fix donated laptops to give to students from low-income families for home-based learning

SINGAPORE — They have received more than 190 donated laptops from Singaporeans since Sunday (April 5), and the numbers continue to rise.

Members of the Engineering Good non-profit group working to prepare laptops to give to children from low-income families for home-based learning.

Members of the Engineering Good non-profit group working to prepare laptops to give to children from low-income families for home-based learning.

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As Singapore battles the Covid-19 outbreak, TODAY’s Heroes Unmasked series highlights those who are doing their bit to spread kindness and compassion during this period. In this instalment, we profile the non-profit group Engineering Good, which aims to make sure students from low-income families have a laptop to use for home-based learning.

SINGAPORE — They have received more than 190 donated laptops from Singaporeans since Sunday (April 5), and the numbers continue to rise.

Non-profit organisation Engineering Good is collecting these laptops to ensure that students from low-income families get access to home-based learning with their own laptop.

This comes after the Government announced that starting from Wednesday, all schools and institutes of higher learning have shifted to full home-based learning until May 4.

The move is part of the month-long “circuit-breaker” measures which came into force on April 7, during which time people are strongly advised to stay at home as much as possible.

Laptops being readied for distribution to students from low-income families. Photo: Facebook/Engineering Good

Started in 2014 by a group of engineers, Engineering Good has been empowering disadvantaged people in the community, by providing them with access to technology.

After the announcement that schools were to shift to full home-based learning, Engineering Good received requests from groups such as the South Central Community Family Service Centre (SCC), to help supply laptops to students from the lower-income group.

They then set about fulfilling the request by appealing to Singaporeans on social media and their website to donate laptops and computer accessories. They also sought volunteers to coordinate donations and deliver the laptops to the SCC.

Their efforts bore fruit as they saw people dropping by their office to donate laptops and also managed to recruit 34 volunteers.

Upon receiving the laptops, the team at Engineering Good then refurbish the laptops before delivering them to SCC.

“We have the technological knowledge while SCC knows the families. This is a win-win set-up for all parties involved,” said Mr Saad Chinoy, who handles communications for Engineering Good.

It was all smooth sailing until Tuesday when the “circuit-breaker” measures forced the organisation to stop their work and close their office, at least briefly.

Fortunately, they said, they managed to receive the clearance from the authorities to open their office and resume their work on April 8.

Mr Chinoy told TODAY that as of now his organisation has had more than 190 laptops donated to them and has over 100 requests from individuals and families wishing to receive laptops.

Engineering Good has also already donated 45 laptops and has had another 76 laptops refurbished.

Meanwhile, the “circuit-breaker” measures have also changed the way the organisation works.

The organisation now arranges for a car or taxi to pick up laptops from the houses of donors before distributing them.

They also get people from the beneficiaries like SCC to collect the refurbished laptops from their office instead of delivering them directly.

Despite the adjustments, Engineering Good will continue with their cause to ensure as many students as possible have access to home-based learning.

“Not everyone has the things we take most for granted: WiFi and computers. Children are children. If we as engineers can’t help bridge the digital divide, what use is all the amazing tech in the world if the kids can’t use it to learn from home,” added Mr Chinoy.

For those who want to donate their unused or old laptops to Engineering Good, they can do so by filling out a form on their website here.

 

Related topics

laptops donation home-based learning Covid-19 coronavirus

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