CompuTech for Humanity (CFH) is a grassroots, 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization that is dedicated to charitable and educational purposes.CFH boasts a multi-cultural group of volunteers that include individuals with various disabilities. CompuTech for Humanity was founded to bring computer technology access to low-income handicapped individuals and low-income family with children. CompuTech for Humanity also delivers education supplies and refurbished computers to developing nations to promote literacy and interest in learning. Our aim is to help close the gap between the technology-empowered communities and the technology-excluded communities on our planet and help reduce e-waste in our community.
CompuTech for Humanity was founded by Elizabeth and Joseph Ogbomon. They got married in 1997 and two weeks after their first wedding anniversary Joseph survived a catastrophic auto accident and suffered spinal cord injury that left him quadriplegic. Few months later he registered with West Side center for independent living center – Computer Project for some computer training.
After graduation he was employed by a reputable insurance company in the city of Los Angeles as a computer help desk support analyst. A year later his department was moved to Cedar Rapids Iowa and was consequently laid off. Now jobless and wheelchair bound, he sought support from an organization called Wheels for Humanity. Ironically, while seeking maintenance assistance for his wheelchair he became a volunteer for the organization. Inspired by the success of Wheels for Humanity, it became the model for what is now called CompuTech for Humanity.
In re-building his life he discovered how access to the Internet improved his quality of life. He was able to search the web for services, support and became less isolated as a disabled person. He wanted to give that same kind of technology access to others who have limited mobility but are financially unable to afford a personal computer. CompuTech for Humanity was born and grew out of his growing awareness of the importance of computer access for disabled individuals and how technology resources can be recycled to benefit the disabled community.
Working at home, along with volunteers, he started refurbishing computers received from friends and associates who had no use for their old computers. CFH began giving away computers to disabled individuals in need and spread the news through word of mouth and at weekly Northridge Hospital Spinal Cord Injury support group meetings, led by Dr. Sandra Rudnick Ph.D. Priority for receiving computers was given to those who were shut-in. His 1994 hand control equipped minivan customized for his limited mobility serves as the pick up and delivery vehicle for donations and delivery of computers
It is a truism that computer literacy has become an essential prerequisite for “being educated” in this century. Almost every job today requires at least some knowledge of computers – a societal transformation as significant as the Industrial Revolution. For children to reach their full potential in this new world, they must acquire a certain level of comfort and competence in using computers. Families need access to computer technology in their homes: only at home are family members able to have the time needed to build computer skills, acquire information, develop their own creations, and communicate with others.
Students in a nation-wide study by Education Week (May 2001) reported learning more on their computers at home. Yet today’s large disparity in home computer access means millions of low-income children and their families are being left behind, making it ever more difficult for them to participate fully in the digital information age. CFH is aware of this disparity as a result makes provision of free refurbish computer for low-income families with children.
According to Joseph Ogbomon “I am so lucky to live in a digital age. Advanced digital technology enriches my daily life and makes my existence full of meaning. Without computers and the Internet, I cannot imagine how I could spend every day in my wheelchair. Disability is still a painful experience but the joy, opportunity and convenience that the Internet brings me is also unlimited. I earnestly wish that every disabled person and children from poor homes in the world will someday have a computer of their own so they can have the same chance to make full use of their talents and will feel the love and equality between human beings which I now experience every day of my life. Knowing that for disabled people, computers and the Internet are nothing less than the very best of God’s gifts. In Cyberspace or internet the differences between high and low, rich and poor, disabled and able-bodied all melt away.”