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History – How It All Started

The following is the story of how Share to Change started. I hope that, by reading it, you get inspired to help other people in any way you can.

-Sara Casallas

The summer before going off to university I worked so I could get money to buy my own laptop. I managed to make enough money, got my laptop and went off to UBC. The laptop lasted about 3.5 years and by Christmas in my 4th year I wanted to throw the laptop out the window. It was really slow, you could only work on a few windows at a time, and the battery would only last 10 minutes. One of my school projects that year required a lot of calculations and tables in excel and needless to say, my laptop couldn’t keep up.   I loved my computer, it had worked hard for a long time but, by then, I really just wanted to see the day I would get to recycle it. I got a new computer for Christmas and I had decided that no one here would take my computer so I wanted to recycle it. After I graduated, my parents, brothers and I went to Colombia and my mum convinced me that someone in Colombia would love to have my computer.  My dad also had a laptop that was in similar conditions to mine so eventually both laptops made it to Colombia.

Sure, someone would take it and recycle it for me but before long, I realized that I was completely wrong. I went back to Vancouver and my mum gave the computer to my dad’s cousin, and a few weeks later I got an email from him  (he was using my old laptop!) saying that it was the best present that someone could have ever given him and that he was getting over the hype of the new computer. He said that now that he had a laptop he would do good things but that for now, he just wanted to share pictures of his new baby girl.  He sounded like a kid when he/she gets his/her first bike. At that point I realized that we had done something really good and that I was taking things for granted.

My mum gave my dad’s old laptop to one of my cousins. He is in military school and he’s in his 4th year of a degree in Business Administration (you do 5 years of university in Colombia). His parents work extremely hard to pay for his university fees which are way more than they can afford and a computer would be the last thing in their mind. Universities in Colombia are pretty much like universities in Canada. There are online assignments, quizzes, and papers, lecture notes to download and research to do. So how did my cousin manage to do all this without a laptop for 4 years!? I can’t even begin to imagine what I would have done at UBC without my computer. Obviously my cousin was very grateful because things would now be easier and he would be able to do better in school.

Giving the laptops to these two guys was a small step but it meant a lot to them. Life from then on would be a bit different and they would have more opportunities to study. It was obvious that by giving them the laptops, my parents and I encouraged these guys to keep going and to make the most out of the opportunities they have.

After I got the email from my dad’s cousin I realized that the majority of students at UBC have laptops and that when those laptops can’t keep up with their owners they will have to be replaced. Then I thought, how many students in Colombia are going to university and can’t afford a laptop?  The next questions was, how many students would welcome one of these used laptops? The answer to those two questions is MANY… way too many! So, I called my mum, the most amazing business woman I know and I called my awesome friend Kalene. Together, we started to brainstorm to find ways of promoting the idea. I have a science degree and have no idea about business but with the help of Kalene and my mum Share to Change started to take some shape. We realized that we have a huge network of very driven and socially responsible friends and family members and that we would need their help. It is amazing how many people like the idea and encourage us to keep developing it.

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