Photo - (from left) Raj Ridvan Singh, CEO of SOLS Tech; and Quek Sue Yian, Director of the Hong Leong Foundation, looking at some digital devices donated by the public.
A programme called TECH CYCLE, which will help bridge the digital divide in Malaysia by up-cycling and re-purposing e-waste such as unneeded computers, mobile phones and cameras, has been launched by SOLS Tech in partnership with Hong Leong Foundation.
"TECH CYCLE is also an effort to reduce the proliferation of e-waste," said SOLS Tech chief executive officer, Raj Ridvan Singh. "Every year the world generates 49 million tonnes of e-waste and only two percent of computers ever find their way to a second user."
"The situation in Malaysia is much the same," said Singh. "At the speed the tech industry is moving, it is no surprise that year after year, thousands of functioning computers and other digital devices in Malaysia are discarded, often for just being last year's technology. This wastes valuable materials and resources, as they sit idle in storage after being replaced by newer models."
"In addition, the devices may harm the environment if not properly disposed of appropriately," he said. "We hope Malaysians will help make TECH CYCLE the latest movement to sweep the country and turn it into their very own community channel for driving change."
He said people could contribute to TECH CYCLE by donating digital devices whether or not they are in working order but should be older than 2004. As well as batteries, chargers and other peripherals, the equipment that can be repurposed for disadvantaged communities include desktop or notebook computers, mobile phones, digital cameras, keyboards and computer mice, printers, scanners, servers, fax machines and monitors.
Designated drop zones
At the launch and recycling event held at Publika in Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur, the Beautiful Gate Foundation was the first beneficiary of the TECH CYCLE programme. The organisation, represented by the Centre Superintendent, Kenneth Thien and Administrator, Kelvin Leong received 10 refurbished computers.
Singh said people could donate their old digital devices at any of the 40 designated drop-off locations, consisting of Hong Leong Bank branches and Hong Leong Group member companies such as Hume Cemboard and Guocera, across all state capitals in Malaysia including Kota Kinabalu and Kuching.
"Generally, Hong Leong Branches will be able accept drop-offs from the 8th to the 24th every month between 10:30am and 3pm on Tuesdays to Fridays," he said, adding that people could look out for the TECH CYCLE banner or truck, which would be making its way around the country or visit www.solstech.org/location.
"The Hong Leong Foundation was created 20 years ago to empower youths as well as disadvantaged Malaysians and help them rise above poverty," said Hong Leong Foundation director, Quek Sue Yian. "Today, the digital divide is one of the challenges holding back disadvantaged segments of society. From better job prospects for underprivileged youths to empowering women via cottage industries on the e-commerce platform, access to digital devices and computer knowledge can make a world of difference."
"We are delighted to work with SOLS again for our outreach programmes," said Quek. "SOLS Tech is the tech arm of SOLS 24/7, an innovative and passionate non-profit organisation that Hong Leong Foundation has been partnering with to help underprivileged youths through education, and vocational and life skills training. Both share the Hong Leong Foundation's values in providing a better life for tomorrow's generations through education and community welfare."
"As the Hong Leong Group member with the widest network around Malaysia, Hong Leong Bank is delighted to have the opportunity to participate in TECH CYCLE by offering our branches as collection points. Besides, our staff will also promote the TECH CYCLE message to all our customers," said Hong Leong Bank group managing director and chief executive officer, Datuk Yvonne Chia.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.