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Fifty computers to be shipped to Vanuatu

Ballance donated 50 second-hand laptops to go to Vanuatu.  Ballance chief information officer Dave Scullin (left) general manager people and capability Edith Sykes, Katikati Rotary's Ann Owen and John Buchanan, and Marine Reach chief executive David Cowie. Photo/George Novak
Ballance donated 50 second-hand laptops to go to Vanuatu. Ballance chief information officer Dave Scullin (left) general manager people and capability Edith Sykes, Katikati Rotary's Ann Owen and John Buchanan, and Marine Reach chief executive David Cowie. Photo/George Novak

Fifty computers will be distributed through the islands of Vanuatu thanks to the generosity of a Bay business.

Ballance Agri-Nutrients has donated 50 laptops that Marine Reach's boat Pacific Hope will deliver to the islands.

It was part of an ongoing initiative Ballance was running in partnership with Rotary which would see more than 300 second-hand laptops donated to schools in the Pacific as well as the Bay of Plenty in coming months.

Ballance chief information officer David Scullin said the company was updating its technology and decided to do something for the community rather than throw it away.

The other 250 laptops would be distributed to children in schools around the region, he said.

"It's really about giving back to children for education purposes," he said.

Mr Scullin said, as an agricultural business, the decision to send some to Vanuatu was to also give back to the community many of the Bay's seasonal workers came from.

Marine Reach chief executive David Cowie said the computers would make a world of difference to many people at the islands.

"Obviously it's going to meet a huge need because most of the students in Vanuatu do not have access to this kind of computer training and internet access. It's a real need over there."

He said desktop computers which had been donated would be part of a training and medical centre the charity was building on the main island, Efate, near Port Vila.

The centre would provide training and medical care to men, women and children, although it was primarily targeting victims of domestic violence, he said.

One of the courses on offer would be a three-month computer science course to introduce them to the basics of computers.

The laptops, which had the contents of Wikipedia downloaded on to them, would be distributed to schools on the Torres and Bank Islands in the upper islands of Vanuatu.

Mr Cowie said downloading Wikipedia on to the computers was a "brilliant idea" because internet access in the nation was scarce.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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