TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Today is International Clean Air Day. It is a day to recognize what work needs to be done to reduce harmful air pollution.
Landfills have greatly contributed to producing harmful emissions.
A local nonprofit organization keeps used technology out of landfills by recycling that technology for eventual sale at a low price.
The nonprofit organization We Care Tucson takes used technology, recycles what it can’t use, and refurbishes what it can.
Refurbished devices are sold at low prices. CEO MeMe Aguila said this helps bridge the digital divide.
“When you talk about the digital divide, we’re talking about people who can’t afford technology,” he said.
Aguila said the importance of devices like laptops makes it hard for people to choose between necessities.
“When you wonder how you’re going to feed your family, spending $800 or $900 on a computer isn’t reality,” Aguila said.
Simba Rusita needed to buy a cheap laptop for work. He said that We Care Tucson gave him that opportunity.
“I don’t have a lot of money right now because I’m new to the United States and I needed a laptop because the one I had to come to the United States broke,” Rusita said. “So I needed to find something that was affordable, within my budget, and really good.”
The nonprofit also has a low-cost computer program where a person or agency can refer someone who needs a laptop but can’t afford it. “For a minimal cost we will get you a laptop,” Aguila said.
Aguila says that volunteers and interns help make this happen.
Colleen Morgan couldn’t find a job and Pima Community College connected her with organizations to help her pay for her studies in information technology.
That’s what brought her to We Care Tucson.
“I thought it would be a good place to get down to business, and it’s also nice to have on my resume,” Morgan said.
She said that these are essential skills for her career and that she is excited to keep learning.
“We just replaced the mouse pad, we took a good mouse pad out of this laptop and put it in this laptop. It’s the first time I’ve done it,” he said.
Volunteers like Morgan, partnerships, and donations keep the nonprofit going.
MeMe Aguila hopes its reach will expand so that its software will eventually go from low-cost to free.
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