Recycling Computers to Help Schoolkids Learn
Hai Thai, Software Engineering Manager, Comcast
Hai Thai likes to find solutions. When the pandemic hit, the software engineering manager saw an immediate problem to solve: students needed laptops at home for virtual learning.
“Too many people still take access to technology for granted,” says Thai, who has been working at Comcast since 2006. “But the unfortunate fact is that millions of low-income children can’t attend virtual school or do homework because they don’t have a device or even Internet access.”
So he founded TechCycle, a one-man project that refurbishes, updates, and distributes computers for Philadelphians in need — for free. With each refurbished computer, Thai also includes information on Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive high-speed broadband Internet adoption program for low-income households.
Thai has big dreams for his budding organization. As word of mouth spread, he began working with a local business to serve as a TechCycle hub, where clients can drop off their electronics. He hopes to train others to refurbish devices, although he’s not content stopping there. Looking further into the future, he envisions having a global reach. “In the next five years, I’d like to provide tech education and devices to developing nations and launch an initiative to curb the illegal exportation of toxic e-waste to other countries.”