Cap­tain Starship phones for help

Central Leader - - News - By Karen Kotze

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.

Photo: AMELIA JA­COB­SEN

Great re­cep­tion: Starship Foun­da­tion mas­cot Cap­tain Starship and chief ex­ec­u­tive An­drew Young with a batch of do­nated mo­bile phones.

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