The Interdisciplinary Affective Science Laboratory (IASLab), part of the Department of Psychology at Northeastern University in Boston, works with Women’s Refugee Care to identify and better understand the unique challenges faced by refugees in adapting to new culture practices and ways of relating to others after resettlement in the United States.
In March 2017, members of the IASLab began a computer donation drive for the WRC community. Ready access to the Internet and word processing applications for job applications, school assignments, and communicating with family and friends back home is critical for WRC families. The high cost of purchasing personal computers, however, means that families have to rely upon public libraries and other free-access options that necessitate transit and have limited availability and support.
With the support of the Department of Psychology IT coordinator and chair, as well as private donations, IASLab members have amassed and configured 15 computers to date. The first eight of these computers were delivered to WRC recipients on Sunday, June 25 at the WRC office in Providence. A second batch of seven computers was recently delivered on Sunday, September 17.
IASLab members also organized a Krispy Kreme doughnut sale on the Northeastern campus from August 30 to September 1, raising almost $1400 for WRC. These donations will go toward meeting additional hardware needs we have encountered during the computer drive: clean hard drives, mice, keyboards, monitors, and recycled machines. Any remaining funds will be used to help families defray the cost of Internet service.
Our hope is to find something for every family over the next six to twelve months. We have additional donations on the way, and are actively reaching out to our professional and personal networks. We know the need is great, and we are optimistic that it can be met!
As families acquire their computers, they will need support with setting up Internet service, and training on how to use the hardware and software. We are grateful to the family mentors and volunteers who can provide this one-on-one support. We also plan to provide workshops or open hours where WRC community members can come ask for help or work through an assignment or need together with a volunteer.
For all their support and effort in this process, please join the WRC community in thanking: Jolie Wormwood, Maddy Devlin, and Katie Hoemann (IASLab members heading up the computer drive); Joe Heck, Joanne Miller, and Yvonne Malcolm (Department of Psychology, Northeastern University); Electronix Redux and Eastern Massachusetts Amateur Radio Group (computer donations); and, of course, the inimitable Aline and Clement!
Update (17 Jan): A third batch of computers was donated in January 2018. Look through the gallery to see more photos!