Today I’m once again thinking of how glad I am to work for a company with a strong commitment to social projects and which takes the notion of corporate responsibility seriously. Not only for victims of the war in Ukraine or through our “Retarus Helps” social activities at our Munich headquarters, providing support for both people and the environment. Retarus regularly donates laptops and computers to schools in some of the poorest regions of the world.
I was reminded of the good Retarus does when reading an email from Martin Hager, Retarus’ founder and CEO, in which he briefly reported on a recent donation initiative – around a dozen notebooks previously belonging to Retarus had arrived at two elementary schools in Senegal, École élémentaire Popenguine 2 and École élémentaire Amandaye Popenguine. A local computer specialist had installed up-to-date operating systems on the devices, all which are still very usable despite having been written off. Learning applications will also be installed shortly. This will give school students the opportunity to acquire information from the internet independently and to engage with school topics and subjects more intensively. In a country where illiteracy is unfortunately above average, this could make a crucial difference in getting a better education.
The initiative was set up by friends of Martin Hager. Mamadou Aw originally comes from Senegal and along with his wife, Lisa Franke, organizes private collection campaigns for schools in the West African country. According to Lisa Franke, it took several months for the notebooks to reach the school students in the small village of Popenguine. They were already shipped by container in late November 2021, arrived in Senegal at the end of January 2022 and were stored there until April.
Lisa Franke and Mamadou Aw are planning to engage in even more sponsorship roles with schools in Senegal and to set up a non-profit organization to manage these activities. What schools are lacking is, however, already clear: “The children could also benefit from printers, although it’s important to take care to select devices with low maintenance costs,” says Lisa Franke.
“In these times when Russia’s war of aggression against the Ukraine has supplanted the Covid pandemic in the media, it is soon forgotten that there are still many countries in the lesser developed world where people desperately rely on donations – for instance to improve their education opportunities,” says Martin Hager. “Notebooks and other devices, which are technically sound and not out-dated, but no longer perfectly meet the requirements for our B2B business, could still serve the needs of school students in this region very well. Every company should consider donating equipment which could still be of use, rather than simply throwing it away.”