Updated: Sep 27, 2020
Project leader: Annika Verma
Schools: The International School Bangalore, Inventure
Date started: 1st August
The pandemic has undoubtedly hit the world with unprecedented force. With the virus sweeping across India, Online school has been deemed as the new normal. While we enjoy the privilege of owning devices that are essential to support this form of learning, students from less privileged backgrounds have seen their education come to a standstill.
A few members of L.E.A.P. found a beautiful way to tie this problem with the perils our environment faces due to improper disposal of e-waste.
The project is a city-wide e-waste drive to collect old phones, tablets, laptops and earphones. The devices have been refurbished by Bangalore based NGOs Budli and Whitefield Ready. The repaired devices will soon be distributed to government school students, mainly Ramagondanahalli GHPS, in order to help them cope with the online learning system in place.
Devices that are not in a condition to be refurbished would first be monetized and harvested for useful parts after which they would be safely and properly disposed. Improper disposal of e-waste often leads to release of chemicals which result in contamination of ground water as well as the soil.
Budli had partnered up with Whitefield Ready as part of their CSR campaign and offered to the conduct the repairs free of cost. We initiated contact with Ms Sumedha, head of Whitefield rising, and after a few sessions, we were we able to begin the awareness and collection aspect of this drive. Two schools in Bangalore, TISB and Inventure, banded together to try and share the messages amongst their students. Some students were also keen on run a community-specific campaign where they congregated the devices in their community for a more efficient pickup.
The pandemic shoved obstacles in our way at every step. Assembling and connecting with the team posed as a challenge due to the fact the whole project was to be monitored virtually. Similarly there were many restrictions on movement within societies due to the lock down as well as unwillingness of people to step out of their homes while the cases soared. This made it very challenging to actually collect the devices.
To tackle these issues we came up with a host of solution with the primary option being door-to-door collection. Keeping safety as number 1 priority, the team members were able to go around to the different houses and collect the devices. Alternatively, a drive based-system was also proposed where individuals travel to a common area within the community to drop off the devices in a box.
The project was a massive success with over 80 devices being collected over the course of 3 weeks, with roughly 40 phones, 10 ipads, and other relevent electronics accessories. The drive was started in the second week of August and was concluded by the first of September. None of this would have been possible without Ms Sumedha’s guidance and the team’s relentless efforts.