1) I propose that the project be organized under IRFF because it is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and an NGO with the UN.
2) Target Pentiums with CD-ROM drive, 500 MB hard drive, 16 MB Ram, and a modem. Windows 95 with either Microsoft works or Microsoft office 97 with access. Find programs in Portuguese, French, etc., and investigate universal translation programs.
3) The best place to find computers right now is through a Christian ministry organization called Equipping the Saints, located in a small town near Roanoke, Virginia. (540) 234-6222. E-mail: email@example.com. Contact person is Keith (who I initially talked with.) We can also pursue various other leads, including going to auctions. Here in Columbus, we have 2 leads of several hundred Pentiums after July 1st. The average qoute is around $150 each.
4) Apply to Microsoft and Corel for donations for software. Ask Wacom if they would be willing to donate software. If not, then search the Internet for the cheapest prices. Equipping the Saints also has software. For example, Microsoft Office 97 costs around $35. Another issue is finding an Internet Service Provider in the country they are going to.
5) Computers could be tested and stored here in Columbus, Ohio at the Ohio Family Church building. However, they could be tested and stored on the east coast, maybe Washington D.C., New York, or New Jersey. I do not know where, but they would probably be accessible for shipping on the airplanes as missionaries go to and from their own countries.
6) As just mentioned, it is important that the logistics of where the computers are, and how they are going to be sent overseas. Going with someone on an airplane is the safest route. Containers of many units will be costly, and risky due to theft or damage.
7) Funding can be initially obtained through requests for donations. As the project expands, grants and gifts on a larger scale can be pursued.
8) Technical assistance is important, and there are several brothers (and sisters, I assume) that will be willing to help. Volunteer help to prepare large number of computers might be able to be accomplished through our schools in Washington D.C. or in Bridgeport, CT as a science project. And an RYS service project dealing with computer preparation, transportation, and instruction overseas might be good. It is better to start small and develop a successful hardware and software combination in the beginning, before doing things on a large scale. The older the computers, the more volunteer help will be needed to prepare them for use abroad. I personally think that it is better to focus on Pentiums first, and as the project expands, include older 486 models.
Finally, let's make a goal from June 1st through July 8th, a 40-day period in which to target 120 computer for world distribution by that date.
John Parker 5/27/99