How your donations can make a difference to people in need: Bridging the digital divide

When COVID-19 hit, schools transitioned to virtual learning for health and safety reasons. However, many grassroots students either lacked the resources or had to rely on the few resources they had, such as mobile devices, to attend classes. This made reading online class materials and keeping up with school even more challenging for children from low-income families.

For Ka Wai, in form 6, virtual learning hasn’t been easy. Since her parents are grassroots workers who only make enough to cover rent and daily expenses, she has no additional means to buy a laptop. During the height of the pandemic, Ka Wai could only study online through her mobile phone, looking at class materials from a small screen from 8 am to 5 pm every day. “The screen is very small, I can’t see clearly, and I can’t open multiple screens,” she recounts. Fortunately, things took a turn for the better when her school informed her that she could apply for a used computer for free last May. After being approved, her parents brought a laptop home in June. According to Ka Wai, “the most significant difference is that the screen is bigger, the file processing speed is faster, and the screen resolution is also much clearer.” She believes that a laptop makes virtual learning five times more efficient than using a smartphone.

To help bridge the digital divide for students from underprivileged families, tech companies in Hong Kong and local organisations have sent more than 1,000 refurbished second-hand computers to help those students in their academic endeavours. The director of Hong Kong’s Ministry of Science and Technology also recommends enterprises donate their old laptops to charities and NGOs instead of just discarding them during their replacement cycle. Community efforts can help ensure that every underprivileged student in Hong Kong has access to a laptop at home.

According to the chairman of the Association of I.T. Leaders in Education, the pandemic has caused additional stress to underprivileged families when parents and children have to work and study at home at the same time. Since most families only have one laptop or computer at home, students either couldn’t attend online classes or, like Ka Wai, had to resort to using their phone. To bridge this digital divide caused by the pandemic, the association strongly encourages people and organisations to donate their old devices to charities and NGOs instead of replacing them every 2 to 3 years, pledging to collect more than 500 refurbished laptops. Crossroads Foundation has placed more than 600 refurbished devices.

How can Crossroads help with the GoodCity app?

As a Hong Kong-based non-profit organisation, our goal is to connect people in a broken world by bringing together those in need and those who can help. Through the GoodCity app, we take in gently used items that are still in good condition from businesses and private donors and distribute them to those in need locally and worldwide.

To relieve the burden of economic hardship hitting those in poverty during COVID-19 and beyond, our mission is to provide goods to empower people. The GoodCity app can help place your gently used items with people who need them. GoodCity is operated by Crossroads Foundation, an established charity that has facilitated the donation of goods and helping those in need since 1995. Funded by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust since 2018, GoodCity has ensured that donated goods from all over Hong Kong have helped nearly 300 non-profit organisations, benefiting more than 150,000 people.

To donate your goods, simply download the GoodCity app and take a picture of the item. Once you’ve submitted a picture of the item you wish to donate, GoodCity’s team of experienced volunteers will review your item and make a decision based on the status, demand, and quantity. They will then let you know whether the item you wish to donate can help others. GoodCity also provides a variety of convenient logistics options to transport your donated goods. You can book a commercial van immediately from within our app or book a drop-off time at our headquarters in Tuen Mun if you have your own transport.