Gerry Beltgens, Ladysmith Rotarian and president of Access to Education Collaborative, has received two donations of computers from universities in BC. A donation of 800 mixed desktops and laptops was donated by a mainland university who was upgrading all of their administrative systems. Another university on Vancouver Island has donated 400 computers and a hospital on the island has donated nearly 50 monitors. All of these units will be shipped via container to Guatemala through Rotary World Helps in Vancouver, who handles logistics and paperwork.
The first 40 foot container is scheduled to be loaded in Vancouver on May 6 and the second will leave later this summer depending on shipping availability. Each container will be loaded with approximately 50% computers for education needs and 50% hospital supplies and other medical equipment.
Once in Guatemala they will be distributed to schools, hospitals, community centres and non-profits providing humanitarian services. Shipping for the containers costs on average around $12,000 from Vancouver to our destination, Antigua Guatemala. The cost of the initial container has been covered by Rotary Clubs and Health for Humanity, a Vancouver non-profit.
Beltgens said he was astounded when he heard the news about the Vancouver donation. “We have been working with a local university who promised us 400 computers but when we were told about the 800 additional computers we were ecstatic. There is such a need, most schools and community centres have no access to computers and this amount will definitely help.”
The computers will be refurbished in Guatemala through a Computer Tech Training Center Beltgens set up in San Antonio Aguas Calientes with Rotarian Vicki Horsefield and her Partner William Garcia. The funding came from RC Victoria Harbourside with the support of Michele Parkin and Bill Feyrer. The refurbished computers will be made available to Rotarians and non profits with projects in Guatemala. Computer prices will be very reasonable ($40 – $80) to cover costs. Contact Gerry Beltgens at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Beltgens has been working on education and nutrition projects in Guatemala and Honduras since 2020. He visited in 2022 and again in 2023. In collaboration with Rotary Clubs in Guatemala, Honduras the US and Canada was been involved in the installation of 20 RACHEL Digital Libraries and close to 500 computers. Access to Education Collaborative itself has 8 RACHEL installations in the Antigua and Lake Atitlan districts. He will be back in Guatemala in October of this year.