PWCS students distribute refurbished computers to families to support distance learning
Posted on 05/21/2020
Headshots of Ghedion Beye, a junior at Forest Park High School, and Khoi Nguyen, a junior at Osbourn Park High School, the students who created the Free and Accessible Technology Initiative.Ghedion Beyen, a junior at Forest Park High School, and Khoi Nguyen, a junior at Osbourn Park High School, have used their talents in engineering and technology to refurbish computers and distribute them to families who do not have computers at home. Both students also attend the Governor’s School @ Innovation Park, a partial-day academic year Governor’s School program with a focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

The students created their own organization, the Free and Accessible Technology Initiative (FATI). From their website, “at its core, the Free and Accessible Technology Initiative is committed to ensuring all students regardless of socioeconomic status get the unalienable right of computer and internet access.” Using their knowledge and passion for technology, they have addressed a critical problem in the community.

Beyen, the chief executive officer behind the initiative, described during a recent interview with WUSA 9, “As schools transitioned to an online learning environment, we noticed that more and more people were going without technology in their home, and that sparked the innovative idea for our organization.”

“We would just like to contribute back to the community that we grew up in,” said Nguyen, the organization’s chief operating officer.

Their innovative organization removes economic barriers by providing free and refurbished computers. Notably, their goodwill goes beyond just the refurbished computers.

“It is basically a care package. We add in a wireless mouse, a laptop sleeve, Google Home, refurbish it, download Microsoft Office, Word, and Powerpoint on all of them,” said Beyen.

Together, the students worked to overcome an obstacle as a result of new distance learning by helping families have access to the right technology, and as a result, directly help their classmates have what they need to continue learning from home. These students’ efforts are an illustrative example of out-of-the box thinking and empathetic response brought about by the challenges posed by the coronavirus. Learn more about the Free and Accessible Technology Initiative.