Slovenian Pirates Help Construct Computers to Counter Digital Poverty
Usually we link the word poverty with lack of food, water, clothing and dwelling. But in the age of digital communication, the lack of a connection to internet or even computer can lead to digital poverty. Being in digital poverty can also lead to a lack of above mentioned things that are essential for survival, and may also cause social exclusion.
The Slovenian Pirates are aware of this problem and that is why some of them are collaborating in a computer construction workshop, organized by Duh časa (Zeitgeist, Slovenian Sustainability Society). Matjaž Ugovšek, coordinator of the project, explained that the origional idea for this project came in 2010 but they could not get a proper place to arrange the workshop. In the beginning they constructed computers at Matjaž’s home and in 2012 they were able to donate 80 computers. In autumn the same year they got permission to establish their workshop in the basement of a primary school in Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana. This enabled them to donate a total of 500 computers in 2013.
The purpose of the project is to construct computers from components (or just add missing parts to them) and donate them to people who can’t afford to buy a computer on their own. The positive side effect is that they use computer hardware which would otherwise end up in a garbage dump. The workshop is also a chance for all participants (mainly young people between the age of 16 and 30) to gain new knowledge about computers. All computers have been installed with Ubuntu Linux on them. The project is not dependent on any financial support since they get all the components for their work from various donators, either individuals or companies.
In order to reach the people who need “digital help” they cooperate with various humanitarian organizations, but sometimes a few people come to them and ask for help directly. The requirement for getting help is that the individual is a receiver of welfare benefits or is registered as unemployed. They also help students, disabled and pensioners. All recipients of computers can also make use of three months free technical support.
Currently, there are 10 places in Slovenia where donors can bring their old computers and components. Some of these places also serve as workshops. If you want to help, you can send an e-mail to this address: email@example.com
Featured image: CC BY-NC-SA Neja Repinc