In The Beginning

The project began in 1999, when the ANZ Banking Group decided to upgrade their computer systems in branches across Australia. Rotarians collected the superseded machines. In Brisbane and surrounding districts the PCs were transported to the Donations In Kind project at the moth-balled Tennyson Powerhouse. DIK is an overseas aid program shipping over 40 containers of medical and educational supplies to PNG and the Pacific Islands every year. A project to recycle the PCs was initiated by Patrick Eldridge, a Rotarian with a life-long love of computing and Bill Waterfield, Director of Rotary's Donations In Kind (DIK) Project. Bill identified the need to sort the computers and improve their capabilities even before it became obvious to others. Officially retired thrice over, Bill still manages export orders for the project.

In 2001, DIK moved to Wacol taking over the old General Store building at the Wolston Park Hospital Complex. Computers for Kids had a new home. A devoted workforce of volunteer technicians have since provided several hundred refurbished computers to local and overseas recipients.

In 2003, the management of the project was taken over by The Rotary Club of Nundah. In order to provide more useable, better quality personal computers to our clients several changes were necessary. It became obvious that the single greatest limitation to the project was the availability of licensed operating software. Unable to purchase a proprietary system due to cost restraints, the project had to rely on donations of licensed software. This worked fine with private and small corporate donors as they had no problems supplying retail and OEM software when machines were donated. Unfortunately, this was not possible with Government and large corporate donors. The project was stalling with a large inventory of computers unable to be refurbished due to licensing restrictions. Many attempts were made to load open source operating systems without a lot of success. For the PCs to be useable they had to run a graphical environment with a low overhead in terms of system resources. The productivity software also needed to be comparable to the almost universal Microsoft Office. There seemed to be no answer to the problem.

Enter the Microsoft Approved Refurbisher program!

Microsoft were approached and Rotary Computers For Kids became a Microsoft Approved Refurbisher in early 2004. This status was achieved after the introduction of a comprehensive manual of procedures, a database to provide cradle to grave asset tracking and major upgrades to quality control procedures. In August 2004, the project entered a partnership with Aviation College (formerly, The Hendra Secondary College) on Brisbane's north side. The College made available an area on Campus large enough for our administration, storage and refurbishment workshops. This facility was fitted out and operational in under a fortnight thanks to the donations of several local businesses and many man-hours of volunteer labour.

In early 2006 the project became officially known as The Rotary Club of Nundah Computers 4 Kids Inc. In the near future C4K will be a Designated Gift Recipient allowing donors to claim a tax deduction for donations.

The Present

The project is now producing in excess of 550 quality refurbished computer systems annually. These are being made available to disadvantaged recipients of all ages, both locally and overseas. Due to another change in the Microsoft Approved Refurbisher program, the software that was once made available free of charge from Microsoft now attracts a cost per computer. As this cost now runs into several thousand dollars per year it has become necessary to request a small donation to The Rotary Club of Nundah per system distributed. This minor cost to the Recipient and/or Beneficiary enables Computers 4 Kids to continue to deliver good quality, refurbished computers to those that are in need.

Since its beginnings C4K has not only helped those children and individuals in need, but we have also been in a position to help our volunteers become more comfortable with their own computers. Some of our volunteers have taken on IT studies and subsequently found employment. We have been fortunate to have assistance by many volunteers from all walks of life who contribute so much to the project in so many ways. If you are interested in giving a little time now and then we would love to hear from you. No computer or IT experience is necessary. We have an online Volunteer Information and Contact Form.

The Future

In January 2006, C4K migrated to the Microsoft Approved Refurbisher Global Program. Unfortunately this means free PCs are now a thing of the past. The compensation is that Computers 4 Kids will still be able to supply a licensed Microsoft operating system with every refurbished PC.

From March 2006 to March 2007, Computers 4 Kids sponsored two Work For the Dole activities for an initial period of six months. This provided on the job training for 25 people. Several of the participants found employment as a direct result of their involvement in the program. Simon Keane participated in the first Work for the Dole activity and impressed everyone with his commitment and technical knowledge. Simon was the workshop supervisor for the second activity and is now employed part time by C4K in that role. C4K is also investigating collaboration with other charitable organisations to share resources and create new project opportunities both locally and overseas. Large Corporate and Government donations of IT equipment continue to flow into our system ensuring a constant supply of good quality refurbished PCs. In the near future Computers 4 Kids will become a Deductible Gift Recipient. This will allow cash donors to claim a tax deduction.

So.. Watch this space as our Project matures and grows....