Dubai – “Refugee and other vulnerable children have the human right to a good education”, said Rudayna Abdo the founder of Thaki a social impact non-profit association. Abdo and her dedicated team are calling on companies in the UAE to donate their used laptops for reuse “It makes a huge difference to their lives.”
By Arthur Blok
Abdo has a strong personal affiliation with the problem of displaced people. Being of Palestinian descent her family left Palestine after the creation of the State of Israel. After some years in Lebanon her family fled in the dark years of the Lebanese civil war (1975 – 1990) and emigrated to Greece and then Canada.
“As an urban planner I lived ten years in Abu Dhabi. I saw the crisis in Syria occurring and the fate of the refugees in Lebanon – in particular that of the children – really touched me. I remember very well hearing in late 2014 of a boy who fled Syria and the only thing he brought with him was his school diploma, his most treasured possession”, said Abdo during a visit to Dubai.
Being a mother of two herself, in this digital era, Abdo saw the importance of continuation of the education for the young refugees. Soon she came up with the idea of collecting used laptops, which she calls ‘e-waste’, from companies in the UAE, where she lived for so many years.
In a relatively short period she gathered a group of volunteers around her and in 2015 Thaki was born. “We want to provide as many refugee and other vulnerable children in the Middle East with the basic human right of education. From that perspective we give a new purpose to used laptops. We preload them with useful educational content in order to help children who have little or no access to formal education.”
In the past few years Thaki has become more professional working with a regular team of experts and volunteers in the Netherlands, Lebanon and the UAE. They delivered over 700 laptops so far which have been used by 41 different organizations and have reached roughly 9,000 students.
Thaki currently has a stock of 200 laptops that will be delivered soon. The preloaded content on the laptops is provided by strategic partners such as Oxford University Press and National Geographic.
There are only a few conditions for companies to donate, Abdo explains: “Of course the laptops have to be fully functional, in good shape, with their hard drive and have a charger included.” Thaki’s current focus remains on helping refugee and vulnerable children in Lebanon. However there are future plans to expand further in the region.
Arthur Blok is the Executive editor-in-chief of the Levant News and Globally Today (www.globallytoday.com).