Multicultural News

Indy laptop donation initiative expands to Afghan refugee camps around US

EDINBURGH, Ind. (WISH) — A plan to create an e-learning lab for refugees at Camp Atterbury has expanded to other military bases around the country.

In the last few days, donations from Indiana have been making their way to the seven other military bases housing refugees.

Not even a month ago, Black Data Processing Associates and the Asian American Alliance teamed up. They hoped to get maybe 50 devices. To date, they’ve gotten more than 500 along with cash donations, pushing them into an unexpected second phase.

There’s no denying the trauma many Afghan refugees experienced on their path to America.

America is home now for Mina Izadi. But in 1984, her family were Iranian refugees living in German refugee camp. “I think allowing people to have dignity and support and making sure that we recognize their situation is based on things that they cannot control.”

That’s part of what drives her passion to help refugees living in bases around the country with donated electronics, thanks to her company, Ingram Micro, which, she says, has a standing commitment to the diversity, equity and inclusion work.

“I reached out to a partner who we work very closely with by the name of Procurri, and they said we will match your donation. So combined, we are donating roughly $40,000 in technology, and I’m hoping for more.”

Partnerships are vital to getting this work done. Access to technology is a necessity if refugees plan to move through life in America efficiently. That’s why Rupal Thanawala came up with the idea to get technology to Afghan refugees at Camp Atterbury and create a e-learning lab for people to apply for jobs and finish paperwork.

“It’s been moving very fast. I believe that with the cash and donations that I have received we have a gross over 100,000 donations just for the laptops, iPads, and tablets,” Thanawala said.

Initially partnering with Black Data Processing Associates and the Asian American Alliance that was the goal.

As support rolled in, the goal shifted big time. In the last week, she’s driven from Indiana to Fort Picket, Fort Lee, Quantico and Fort Dix.

“So, yeah, my car was packed with over 200 devices when I started from Indiana on Tuesday.”

Thanawala said, seeing the support, it’s easy to see this is the right thing to do. The next stops are trips to bases in Texas and Wisconsin.