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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 November 2006, 11:48 GMT
Computers recycled for Ghana link
By Stuart Richards
BBC News, Worthing

Jib Hagan and his daughter Phoebe
Jib Hagan wants his daughter to know more about his native country
A father from West Sussex is trying to help his daughter achieve her dream of being able to e-mail friends and relatives in his native Ghana.

Jib Hagan, 52, from Worthing, is setting up a charity to collect unwanted computers from schools, businesses and homes to then send out to schoolchildren in the African country, all free of charge.

The seeds of the operation - known as CARE Computers for Developing Countries - were sprouted four years ago during a family visit to Ghana.

Mr Hagan said: "My niece took my kids [Phoebe, 11, and Alice, nine] to school and each time I went to fetch them, the kids rallied around saying, 'We want to be like your daughters and learn about computers'."

But the children in Ghana did not have PCs, and it was only when Phoebe took the initiative back in the UK that Mr Hagan embarked on a one-man mission.

Map of Ghana
If I wanted to speak to any of my family in Ghana I needed to book it two weeks in advance with the British Telephone Exchange
Jib Hagan

She woke her father one night to tell him that she had asked her head teacher at Chesswood Middle School if they could take away the old equipment from the computer room.

That has since led to CARE becoming one of three organisations recommended to schools by West Sussex County Council for their Disposal of Redundant ICT Equipment programme.

Mr Hagan now has more than 1,000 donated computers, with printers and screens as well, many of which are causing the garage at his Worthing home to burst at the seams.

He wipes all the information from them to Ministry of Defence standards, and is installing new software before making arrangements for the first shipment to Ghana.

"I have set up a service and distribution centre in the capital Accra [with a team of trained support staff] where the first PCs we've got will be sent to," Mr Hagan said.

"Once we get them there we will distribute them and set up an ICT club at each of the schools.

"I have had to take out a personal loan and I've spent about 11,800 on various things."

But Mr Hagan cannot continue to dedicate all his own time and money to the project, so his Charity Commission application is being handled by one of his proposed trustees.

Ghana 'unlocked'

Donated computers have so far come from schools, Worthing Hospital and the University of Sussex, while Mr Hagan has also had some left on his doorstep.

His daughter Phoebe said she was looking forward to being able to e-mail schoolchildren in Ghana.

Computers in Jib Hagan's garage
Jib Hagan's garage is full of computers, screens and printers
"I would like to learn a bit of their language and we could probably tell them about all the different subjects we do at school," she said.

As for Mr Hagan, he feels his daughter has almost taken him back 28 years to when he moved to England from Ghana.

"Somehow I put Ghana in a box and I locked it up," he reflected.

"My daughters have found the key that I put away in my mind and unlocked the box."

Mr Hagan's ultimate goal is to have schoolchildren from West Sussex and Ghana communicating with each other on a daily basis.

"When I came here, if I wanted to speak to any of my family in Ghana I needed to book it two weeks in advance with the British Telephone Exchange.

"They would phone you and tell you when you would be receiving the call and be connected.

"So being able to send something at the touch of a button and see a message from another part of the world will be fantastic."


SEE ALSO
Communities get hi-tech help
06 Nov 04 |  Technology
New life for old computers
30 Oct 04 |  Wales
South Africa school goes hi-tech
14 May 03 |  Technology

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