Computers for All – Digital Inclusion in Luxembourg
Type of Information
Patrick de la Hamette (Login to send email)
Contact Person Function
Through the Computers for All project, Digital Inclusion (DI) collects used computers and smartphones from individuals, institutions and businesses. With the help of volunteers, DI then repairs and readies these devices for reuse. Most of the volunteers are refugees or unemployed individuals. Through volunteering, they acquire new skills that are useful in their integration and finding employment. Once the computers and smartphones are ready for reuse, DI distributes them to other refugees, residents with low income and social projects.
Photo by Digital Inclusion
Issue/Challenge and Goal/Assumption
Access to digital technology is necessary in contemporary society, and most refugees regularly used computers or smartphones in their home countries. But they may have left their devices behind (or the devices may have broken), and they may no longer have the means to buy a new one, while refugee centres are preoccupied with more immediate needs, such as food and shelter.
There are also refugees and migrants who have never used a computer before. This can be a big problem in Luxembourg, where using online applications is required for many public and private services, as well as to find a job.
At the same time, a big part of Luxembourg’s population buys new computers or smartphones regularly. Companies and institutions also frequently change their IT equipment. This results in a surplus of devices which, while good enough for reuse, end up being thrown out, thereby wasting the resources used to produce them.
How does it work
Computers for All aims to address the needs of refugees and job seekers for access to information technology (IT) tools, as well as the wasteful discarding of still-useful computers and smartphones. Grounded in circular economy principles, the project collects, repairs and refurbishes computers donated by individuals and companies. DI then distributes the refurbished devices to refugees or residents with low income.
A team of volunteers, made up of refugees and other job seekers, take part in workshops where they learn about IT and help to refurbish computers and get them ready for use (e.g., by installing a new operating system).
In collaboration with Caritas, DI also collects, repairs and distributes smartphones to people in need. As with computers, the goal is to improve digital access for the most disadvantaged members of society while extending the life of devices that would otherwise end up in landfills.
To complete the holistic vision of its social impact model, DI offers computer training for refugees and other job seekers.
Photo by Digital Inclusion
The project has so far collected, refurbished and distributed more than 1,700 computers and smartphones to individuals and social projects in Luxembourg.
Computers for All provides recipients of computers and smartphones with a means of communicating both with family and friends abroad and with the local society, a way to be part of the information society and a tool for job searches, learning and integration.
The project’s computer repair workshops provide a space for professional exchange between IT specialists and amateurs, cultural exchange between refugees and the local community and IT training that would be otherwise inaccessible to refugees. The project offers an opportunity for refugees to engage in a productive and empowering activity, practice languages and develop professionally.
Who will benefit?
The project is aimed at asylum seekers and refugees, job seekers and social projects and associations in Luxembourg.
Source of funding and Resources used
Funding comes from Oeuvre Nationale de Secours Grande-Duchesse Charlotte (National Lottery). Digital Inclusion also receives support from the European Social Funds, Luxembourg’s Ministry of Labour and several private sponsors.