Megabytes in Madagascar

UK schools asked to donate their used computers

Christmas is approaching fast, with all the associated tinsel, trimmings and turkey sandwiches. One of the best things about this time of year is the box office cinema releases, and 2008 sees the return of the city-hardened menagerie of New York’s Central Park Zoo – that we first met on screen in 2005 – in the form of
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.

While this is the closest most of us will come to the island nation off the south-east coast of Africa, someone who is much more familiar with the country is Nigerian-born travel writer and broadcaster Christina Dodwell. She spent time there while writing her travel guide, Madagascar Travels, and fell in love with the country.

Fifteen years ago Dodwell started her own charity, the Dodwell Trust, to bring connections and education to the people of Madagascar. “It is as magical and enchanting as the films portray and has incredible biodiversity, but it is also very poor,” she says. “It’s bypassed by the main trade routes and is well off the popular tourist trails. This is a place where firemen fight fires in their bare feet because they can’t afford to buy shoes.”

This Christmas, to coincide with the movie release, Dodwell and the charity IT Schools Africa are launching a campaign to encourage schools to donate old computers to help provide facilities to Madagascan children. “Used computers have almost no value in the UK, but in Madagascar they can really transform lives,” says Dodwell. “Ordinarily, school leavers can expect to earn no more than 70p per day working on the land, but with computer skills they can access far better job opportunities.”

IT Schools Africa sent the first container of 480 refurbished and recycled computers this week, but many more computers will be needed to complete the project; the aim is to recycle 10,000 in total. Over the course of the next seven years, IT Schools Africa, in partnership with the Madagascar Ministries of Education and Decentralisation, plans to set up 500 regional IT resource centres across the country, each containing 20 computers and a library of information. They will be used by schools, community organisations and NGOs. “The number of people who will use each computer is massive, and the benefits are huge. The only thing we need is computers for recycling,” says Dodwell.

Four years ago, Dodwell sent 40 computers to Madagascar and was overwhelmed by the response she received. “They tied bows and ribbons on them and put them on national TV – they were so touched. This is why I continue to work with the people from Madagascar, because their response is always far greater and sweeter than you had ever imagined. The difference you make by doing what seems like such a small thing to us is so much greater than one could ever understand.”



IT Schools Africa is seeking donations of desktop computers or laptops of Pentium 3 and above, and the computers can be dropped off at IT Schools Africa’s warehouse in Leckhampton, Gloucestershire. For more information visit www.itschoolsafrica.org or, to make a donation, contact Tim Barnes or Catherine Richardson on 01242 228 800 or info@itschoolsafrica.org





PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Extras
indybest
News
peopleLiam Williams posted photo of himself dressed as Wilfried Bony
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice finalists Mark Wright and Bianca Miller
tvBut who should win The Apprentice?
News
The monkey made several attempts to revive his friend before he regained consciousness
video
Extras
indybest
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Trainee / Graduate Helpdesk Analyst

£20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Software Developer

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Join a fast growing software co...

Guru Careers: Graduate Account Executive / Digital Account Executive

£20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate / Digital Account Exe...

Guru Careers: Junior Designer / Design Graduate

£18k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Junior Designer / Design Graduate to join...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick