Aug 5, 2014

Rescuing Old PCs to Donate to Struggling Costa Rican Families

Welcome to the first post on Costa Rica PC Rescue!

Who Am I?

My name is Casey Bahr. I author three other blogs, of which probably the most well-known is A Dull Roar, which chronicles our move from Oregon to Costa Rica in 2007 and life thereafter in the so-called Land of Eternal Spring.

Prior to relocating to Costa Rica, I was a software engineer for a couple of startup companies and later for Intel in Hillsboro. I also have a few technical hobbies such as ham radio (see my blog Cloud Warmer), electronic kit building and reviving older personal computers.

What Is PC Rescue?

The skills from the latter hobby I use to refurbish discarded computers here in Costa Rica, which I donate to local Costa Rican families that could not otherwise afford to buy one at all. These Tico families are very grateful to have access to the Internet and software programs that are essential tools for their children to acquire computer skills and help them with their schoolwork.

How It Works

Up to this point, my PC rescue and donations have been a one-man show. I've accepted unwanted desktop and laptop machines locally from donors and found a few at recycling centers. Along with a couple of boxes of spare parts I brought down, I was able to put about 75% of these back in shape and all but a couple have already been donated to needy families.

Some parts I must buy either online or try to find locally and I've paid for those out-of-pocket. After limping along in this fashion, however, I would very much like to expand the project and to that end, I've begun asking for monetary donations among family, friends and acquaintances. My first campaign was less than a week ago. It is run off the Kapipal crowdfunding site and we hit our $250 goal for spare parts within 5 days! That campaign remains open, by the way (hint).

That amount of generously donated money will go a long way to getting more PCs into the homes of families that need them more quickly.

What's Next?

To grow this project I'm going to be concentrating on a number of activities, of which Costa Rica PC Rescue readers will be updated as I go along by subsequent posts:
  • Create a larger, more organized, dedicated "clinic" for new PCs coming in the door within my personal workshop
  • Distribute flyers to all recycling centers in San Isidro asking them to set aside discarded PCs or PC parts
  • Make presentations to local community groups to spread the word
  • Set up reward programs for larger donation campaigns
  • Post pictures and stories of the families who use these revived PCs
  • More online marketing for material and monetary donations via this blog, a Facebook page and dedicated Twitter account
  • Locate sources for larger quantities of off-lease PCs from the States or within Costa Rica
  • Hire (eventually) a part-time tech to take care of the day-to-day diagnostics, refurbishment and follow-up maintenance for PCs we distribute. This will be a local Tico who has an aptitude for the work, so he/she will receive training and perhaps a new vocation.

So, stay tuned. 

How You Can Help

Monetary contributions are most welcome, of course. On Kapipal, you can donate as little as $1 via Paypal and any amount is greatly appreciated.

If you are local, I can always use donations of working, sorta-working or non-working PCs. If I cannot revive them, I can surely use the parts within.

Please do not hesitate to send in your suggestions relative to any aspect of this project via the comment section on each post or contact me directly via casey@tomochka.com

Thanks for stopping by!

1 comment:

  1. Casey, Where in CR are you located? I have been doing the same thing here for 11 years. First in Santa Ana, now in Ojochal. Maybe we can collaborate on some things. frankday@mail.com

    ReplyDelete

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