|Nepal's great lesson in recycling|
Where do Canberra schools' old whiteboards go to die? If they are still in working condition, they can be reused and some end up as far away as Nepal.
Pat Moloney, national manager of interactive media company Link Media, first contemplated recycling whiteboards about 18 months ago when a new model came on the market and a number of local schools asked to upgrade their models, leaving perfectly good whiteboards facing the scrap heap.
"The technology moves pretty quickly. We had a number of older boards which were in perfect working order but weren't needed," Mr Moloney said.
Through AusAid, Link Media has shipped almost 100 interactive whiteboards to East Timor. It did not come without a cost: Link supplied technicians to pull apart the whiteboards to ensure they were in perfect working order when they arrived at the East Timor schools.
The company also supplied all the necessary technological support and software.
The average new interactive whiteboard costs more than $2000, so it is technology that schools in developing nations such as East Timor simply could not afford otherwise.
The project expanded earlier this year when an old school friend, Kirsten Junge, asked Mr Moloney for a whiteboard for an orphanage she has helped set up in Nepal.
"I asked for one and he gave us six," she said.
The whiteboards have all found new homes in neighbouring schools and a nearby Buddhist monastery.
Ms Junge, whose charity Inspire the World supports 14 orphans in Nepal, said the latest consignment was due to be installed in classrooms soon.
However, it took 5½ hours to get the shipment through customs and while the air freight company charged only cost price to ship them, it still cost almost $1300 to get them to Nepal, which Ms Junge paid.
"We need to raise about $2000 a month to keep the orphanage running and to pay for the education, food and medical care for our kids. We would also love some donations to help us get more whiteboards out to the schools, which would love to have them."
Mr Moloney said it had been a worthwhile investment.
"I think it's marvellous for us to know that with technology that still works well, instead of putting it on the tip, it could benefit those who could never afford that type of thing. Everybody wins, don't they?"
Donations can be made at www.inspiretheworld.com.au