THE AGUANG family from Sudan has been in Lismore for two years. They were helped with housing and getting settled in by the North Coast Settlement Service (NCSS).
Now their support worker Leandro Mendes has organised a welcome addition to their home - a Mac G4 laptop computer.
The gift arises out of an arrangement between the service and PowerMax Computers, in Magellan Street, Lismore, which has been reconditioning and giving away older Mac computers to community groups for a few years.
PowerMax computer's Amelia Ahern said the idea started five years ago.
"I thought it was a shame to send older computers still in working order to e-waste recycling," Amelia told The Echo.
"I was aware there were groups who'd be happy to have computers, so we came up with the idea of Mac Gifts, where customers give us older, working computers and we erase the customer data, reinstall the operating system, put on a few programs and donate the computers to community organisations.
"We've given working computers to everyone from the Australian Breastfeeding Association to Seabird Rescue and the Lismore Lantern Parade.
"The North Coast Settlement Service is the most recent recipient. So far, we have given computers to two Lismore refugee families, and we have more that we're preparing."
Amelia said the professional time invested varies from machine to machine.
"We have a young employee, Trent Newton, who has been doing the work - he's even been taking them home and working on them in his spare time as a volunteer.
"He's really happy to see the computers getting another life, often with families who have several teenagers and no computer in the house.
"I like Mac Gift because we're re-using, rather than recycling - and we're providing access to technology for people who might not otherwise be able to have it."
The Aguang family likes Mac Gift too. Helen Aguang told The Echo the laptop would be specially useful for her youngest son Juan, 14.
Juan's brother Stephen, 23, a volunteer with the LightnUp Lismore lantern workshop, said he would use the computer too, "for looking on the internet".
Amelia said that anyone who has a working older-model Mac computer they're planning to replace, one that they'd like to see go to a good home, is welcome to drop it off at the PowerMax shop in Magellan Street, Lismore, during working hours.
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