Tech company supporting the vulnerable with digital connections
A technology start-up is making a difference in the lives of vulnerable people, including refugees, through donations of electronic devices that keep them connected,
Melbourne-based Moorup, which means ‘life’ in the Woi Wurrung language, is a technology company whose mission is to extend the lives of electronic devices and help bring connectivity to unconnected consumers.
Since its formation in 2018, the company has focused on offering trade-in, recycling and re-commerce solutions to help make the mobile industry more sustainable.
Moorup’s tech experts buy back, renew, recycle, donate and sell devices through various corporate, retail and wholesale channels locally and globally.
The company has committed to donating five per cent of the pre-owned phones, laptops and tablets it buys and refurbishes to people experiencing digital exclusion.
One of these people was Syrian refugee Mahmoud Alsayad, who is congenitally blind, and who arrived in Australia last month.
Mahmoud was escaping the conflict and strife in his homeland but he was also escaping sub-human treatment as a blind person.
Ashamed of his disability, Mahmoud’s family made him sleep in a store cupboard; he was not allowed out to go shopping or visiting and he was beaten when he talked about leaving.
He often went hungry for days because of irregular support and caring arrangements.
And Mahmoud’s dreams of study, and building a future and having a family were scoffed at by his family.
But after arriving in Melbourne as a refugee with the support of refugee settlement agency AMES Australia and the NDIS, he has set about creating a life he could never have achieved at home.
He has been supplied with an iPhone by Moorup which as voice activation technology installed.
This allows Mahmoud to search the internet and learn English. He can also use the mobile to text, call and connect with others.
“I came to Australia because I need to be independent. I want to learn English, study and work. I want to have a family and build a future,” he said.
“I am happy now. I appreciate everything that has been done for me and I want to become independent so I can give back. I want to thank AMES and Moorup for all the support they have given me,” he said.
Moorup was born out of a corporate philosophy that revolves around environmental sustainability, social responsibility and making a positive impact on communities.
The company works with hundreds of business, enterprise and government customers across Australia who trade-in their upgraded and unused smartphones, tablets and laptops as well as partner with Officeworks to manage their trade-in program.
“After the devices we receive have been assessed and had their data securely erased we have committed to donate 5 per cent of devices we purchase to those experiencing digital exclusion,” said Moorup CEO Brett Burgess.
“By donating refurbished devices to vulnerable people, we are demonstrating our commitment to addressing digital exclusion and helping domestic violence survivors in our own, small way. This aligns to our core values of reducing electronic waste and promoting a more inclusive and caring society,” he said.
Mr Burgess said one of the powerful elements of working with charities, is getting direct feedback from them on how the company is helping.
“We like to share these back with our staff. We often hear how the phones we have donated have empowered domestic violence survivors to access resources and connect with support networks or enabled young adults in isolated areas access educational resources and essential online services. It feels great to be a part of that, whilst keeping old technology out of landfill,” he said.
Moorup works with several nominated charities, but mainly ones that focus on domestic violence and digital exclusion.
“We recognise that digital exclusion can exacerbate existing inequalities, hindering access to education, job opportunities and essential services. Focusing in this area, we aim to bridge the digital gap and create a more inclusive society where everyone can operate from a more level playing field and thrive,” Mr Burgess said.
“One of the best things about Moorup and this program is meeting the dedicated volunteers and founders who are dedicating their time to these causes,” he said.
The company works with organisations like the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency, Friends with Dignity who furbish social housing for domestic violence survivors with furniture and with 4Voices and DV safe who also provide significant support services for domestic violence survivors.
“Our partnerships with these organisations have enabled us to reach a broader audience and ensure that our devices reach those who need them the most. Over a 12 month period, we expect to donate around 2,500 devices a year,” Mr Burgess said.
Mr Burgess tells the story of a young woman who was sleeping in parks and finding it hard to get accommodation. She had lost all of her possessions after they were sold by people at her previous accommodations.
“We feel proud when we can provide people with access to support and other services and support through a device.
“Moorup supports people experiencing digital exclusion by collecting, securely erasing the data and preparing a portion of the devices we purchase from our customers for donation. This ensures they are ready for those in need,” he said.
Moorup’s mission is to continue to expand its enterprise buy back efforts and increase the number of devices donated each year for vulnerable individuals and empower more survivors.
“We want to ensure we get all of our available devices into the hands of the people that need them the most, in the most efficient and fastest way possible,’ Mr Burgess said.
If you would like to see Moorup able to donate more devices, you can trade in your technology.
If you’re a consumer and looking to replace your old phone, tablet, laptop or smartwatch with something new. Go to Device Trade-in (officeworks.com.au) to trade in for an instant gift.