One child, one device - 17-year-old launches drive with aim of ensuring no student is left behind
Students across the island are showing tremendous mettle in the face of the challenges presented by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
One such student is Zachary Murray, who donated 21 tablets and laptops through his Zach’s Device Drive initiative, in a bid to eliminate educational inequalities.
The drive began with Murray donating two devices, purchased with the money he saved from his allowance and with help from his parents, to students of his school – Campion College – where he identified a need among fellow schoolmates.
“Students are always using the computers at the library for research, assignments, etc. During COVID and the school closures, I thought of these students many times,” Murray told The Gleaner.
Since then, the upper sixth form student has made donations to other institutions, including Jamaica College, St Andrew High School for Girls and Pembroke Hall High School.
“I started this initiative as a means of giving back during this really difficult and unprecedented time in our history,” he said, adding that COVID-19 has not only significantly impacted the lives of many around the world, but education systems as well.
He notes that many Jamaican students have had difficulty accessing online learning.
With the mantra of ‘one child, one device – leaving no child behind’, Murray indicated that the drive responds to two of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, that is, quality education for all and reduced inequalities.
It seeks to close the technological gap by providing students with new or lightly used devices, including tablets and laptops, which will go to the school or student stipulated by the donor.
For devices donated to schools, principals and guidance counsellors, knowing the needs of their students, select the recipients.
Murray launched Zach’s Device Drive in September 2020. The 17-year-old says it was conceptualised earlier in the year as reports began to surface of the difficulties students were experiencing accessing devices and the Internet.
Support has been steady and growing, with donors as far as Trinidad and Tobago and California in the United States purchasing devices on Amazon and donating to the initiative.
One company, Environmental Solutions Limited, purchased six devices through the drive for children of their employees.
The SAKHI Indian Women’s Group in Jamaica purchased five devices for Jamaica College and Campion College.
Murray has even secured a partnership with the Jack Khemlani-led Royale Computers, whereby persons wishing to donate could purchase an earmarked device, suited for online classes, at a reduced rate of $20,000.
The device, an Alcatel 10-inch tablet, comes with extra storage, a keyboard and a case.
Purchases for the drive may be made at Royale Computers Business Solutions Division, the business’ South Avenue location. Donors have the option of indicating the school or student they wish the device to be delivered to, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The support and donations have been absolutely amazing! What I learnt was that many [people] wanted to do something to help, but were not exactly sure how to,” said Murray.
He hopes the device drive will become an educational movement, helping Jamaican students to unlock their full potential.
To donate or learn more about Zach’s Device Drive, visit @zachsdevicedrive on Instagram or email email@example.com. Have a good story you’d like to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.