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Article posted on March 22, 2017

ERA & Hitachi Solutions donate tech to help young refugees and immigrants

Candy Serrano, Calgary Bridge Foundation for Youth client, accepts a donated laptop.
Candy Serrano, Calgary Bridge Foundation for Youth client, accepts a donated laptop.
Forest Lawn High School students receive donated laptops.
Forest Lawn High School students receive donated laptops.

On February 10, three organizations came together to bridge the digital divide for young newcomers to Calgary.

As part of an ongoing partnership, the Calgary Bridge Foundation for Youth (CBFY) received 100 refurbished laptops from the Electronic Recycling Association (ERA) and its donor, Hitachi Solutions Canada. This was the second time ERA gifted computers to CBFY since an initial donation facilitated by Alberta’s Promise in 2014.

While some laptops will remain at CBFY as part of a new client computer lab, many have been distributed to the immigrant and refugee youth and families the organization serves. Ten were personally delivered by CBFY’s CEO Umashanie Reddy to Forest Lawn High School students on Valentine’s Day.

As Reddy explains, personal computers are an unexpected gift for immigrant and refugee families attempting to build a life for themselves. “When they come into the country, all they can afford and look for is a home, employment and food on the table,” she said. “A laptop is a luxury at this point in their life, so this donation is phenomenal.”

For Candy Serrano, a 17 year-old first-generation Canadian whose parents came to Canada from Chile and Guatemala, the gift means convenience and improved access as she furthers her education. “This will allow me to come home and get my work done, without needing to stay at school very late,” she said, “and it will help me have greater access altogether [during] group projects.”

Serrano will also be able to keep in touch with loved ones thanks to the donation. “Nowadays, everything is done through the internet,” she said. “[…] I can communicate with my family members in other countries.”

Thanks to caring organizations like ERA and Hitachi Solutions Canada, Alberta-based non-profits and their clients will continue to receive the support they need. Is your organization ready to give back? Connect with Alberta’s Promise or download our community involvement toolkit.

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 22, 2017

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