Camara Education volunteers hit 100,000 hours in refurbishing computers

27 Feb 2013

Camara volunteer Karl Cooney with Minister of State for Training and Skills Ciarán Cannon at a Camara Workshop

Volunteers with Irish charity Camara Education have worked 100,000 hours preparing computers for disadvantaged communities and their achievement has drawn recognition from Ireland’s Minister of State for Training and Skills Ciarán Cannon.

Camara refurbishes and prepares to ship used computers – 35,000 to date – for use in schools in disadvantaged communities in Ireland, Africa and the Caribbean.

Cannon said the hands-on experience volunteers gain while enabling the social enterprise to continue its work in improving education for those who need it sends out a strong message about Ireland as a country.

“Despite our economic difficulties, we’re still willing to reach out to people all over the world and work with them and support them in developing these skills. Ultimately, everyone benefits and that’s what we want to do,” Cannon said.

In seven years, more than 2,000 volunteers have worked at Camara, contributing an average of 50 hours each. Many of them come from the FÁS Training and Employment Authority or college programmes, looking to develop skills they can use in careers in technology.  

Andrea Jeaney, as IT Carlow student, completed a placement with Camara as a workshop technician.

“I undertook a six-month placement with Camara Education as part of my college degree and it proved to be quite a success,” Jeaney said.

“As part of my placement in Camara I was working on new projects consistently, meeting new people and strengthening and expanding my skills in the process.”

John Fitzsimons, CEO of Camara Education, added that in Camara, the benefit of people’s time is having a huge impact on the lives of those that need support most.

“In return, our volunteers acquire the practical skills that enable a huge number to gain employment in our digital age,” Fitzsimons said.

To volunteer with Camara or to donate used computer equipment, please visit Camara’s website or call 01 65 22 665.

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic