Have you ever wondered what happens to the electronic gadgets that you throw away? Most of them end up with hoarders who dismantle the gadgets and sell the individual parts for money. Or it just ends up being an electronic waste. Stop and think for a minute; how good it would be if your old gadgets end up with someone who actually deserves them? Not only would that deserving someone thank you with all his heart but also get to learn something from it.
Circulate is a Pakistani initiative that is trying to recycle gadgets and is transferring them to the most deserving people of our society. It was started by Mubashir Ghani Khawaja and Saad Yaqub, two students hailing from Islamabad. An interesting fact here is that they both have no background in technology. Saad is a Finance student and Mubashir is studying Public Administration. But their goal of helping the less fortunate is what shines here. TechJuice reached out to them and here’s what they said:
“The main idea behind Circulate was to make sure everyone gets an opportunity. We wanted to make sure that the children who are born in slums are not defined by poverty. Everyone deserves a better chance at life and certainly every child deserves to be educated. So we decided to get second-hand electronics from people, fix it and give it to people that are eager to use it. For instance, the children taught by Master Ayub don’t have any access to computers. We are focusing on helping such people.”
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Since Circulate is very new, not a lot of people know about it. Mubashir and Saad have gotten a lot of help from members of their family who gave them their old devices. They often receive parts in bits – a mouse, a hard disk, a CD-ROM etc. But this isn’t a problem for them. They fix everything they get and make up a perfectly running PC out of it. As you are reading this article, they are fixing up a PC which they plan on giving away in August.
While this idea is something truly inspiring, it is not one that is problem-free. What if someone hands them faulty or malfunctioned stuff – one that cannot be fixed or would require a lot of money. For now, they say, that they’ve received gadgets and parts from their relatives and friends only. This brings us to the next valid question, what happens when they start expanding and more people get to know about them? So when TechJuice asked them if they plan on taking the shape of a proper startup, here’s what they said:
“We are completely non-profit at the moment. We spend from our own pocket for all the fixtures. While the idea of a startup does seem ideal, we haven’t given it much thought for now. This is something that we do out of our passion to help the people in need. But as more people get to know about us the work will definitely increase but it is all for the greater good. We’ll be able to help more people and who knows, we may even form a proper startup.”
Such an initiative is more than needed in Pakistan. We also need to teach people the value of recycling. While it is true that electronic gadgets are made to last only a few years, merely throwing them away adds to the electronic waste. Developed countries like USA and China have an annual e-waste of around 3 million tons and we are not far behind. According to a survey titled “Recycling – From E-waste to Resources” by UNEP, the amount of electronic waste in the Sub-continent is expected to rise by 500%. Currently, there are 157 startups registered on Angel.co which are focused towards recycling electronics. There are many startups in Asia alone that are recycling electronics and providing people refurbished gadgets.
We wish Circulate the very best with their endeavor. You should contact Circulate if you have the ability to fix computer hardware or if you have any hardware parts lying around your house. Help make a difference.
For more details follow Circulate on Facebook.