Captain Starship phones for help
Each year in New Zealand alone two million mobile phones become obsolete. And each year, Starship children’s hospital treats almost 100,000 children.
In a new campaign, these two statistics are linked to create an unexpected win-win situation.
On February 24 Starship Foundation announced a fundraising drive which will raise crucial money for priority paediatric care and research, and prevent discarded mobile phones from becoming toxic landfill.
Starship’s mobile phone appeal will have a positive impact on developing countries in need of cellular technology and could create employment opportunities in New Zealand if demand leads to a recycling centre being set up.
“This is a brilliant scheme on every count,” says Starship Foundation chief executive Andrew Young.
“It feels so right. By simply donating their old phones to us, New Zealanders are able to have a hand in helping our children, our environment, and in supporting countries less fortunate than ours.”
People can donate old and unused phones using a freepost envelope.
These envelopes are distributed nationwide by the media, ASB Banks, Telecom stores and through retail outlets.
The mobile phones are then sent directly to Irish company Folamh, a specialist mobile phone recycler.
In Ireland the phones are graded and stored for shipping to countries such as Hong Kong, China or Eastern Europe.
There, under accredited processes, they are checked, reprogrammed, repackaged and sold inemerging economies in desperate need of the technology.
“Starship gets 60 percent of the proceeds from these sales, and in addition to this, Folamh has undertaken to absorb the financial risk and pay for all of the marketing of the campaign,” Mr Young says.
He says extensive re- search has gone into the project which has taken 10 months to set up and streamline.
“Folamh has run a very successful similar campaign for a children’s charity, the Jack and Jill Foundation, in Ireland,” Mr Young says.
“Donated mobile phone charity appeals are standard fundraising practice across the United Kingdom and the United States, but this is a new concept for a New Zealand charity.
“Also, in these difficult economic times, it’s helpful to be offering another method of donating, other than cash.”
The campaign has been praised by Prime Minister John Key, who called it “a fantastic project”, and by stalwart Starship supporters such as philanthropist Rosie Horton and celebrities Suzanne Paul, Candy Lane and Shane Cortese.
The funds raised will be funnelled into priority needs at Starship.
“All we need is support from the public.”
For more information visit www.starship.org. nz/phone.
Great reception: Starship Foundation mascot Captain Starship and chief executive Andrew Young with a batch of donated mobile phones.