Globetops Gives New Life to Old Laptops

With technology constantly changing and improving, in North America we have become accustomed to trading in our new gadgets for newer gadgets. But in many developing countries, access to technology is very much a privilege.


Becky Morrison formed a connection with the country of Guinea through a love of West African dance. Eventually traveling over for dance competitions, she always made a point of bringing over small gifts and tastes of Western life. Having made the journey a few times already, before leaving for one trip she had a request from a friend in Guinea asking that instead of bringing over the usual clothes and housewares, she bring a laptop. After a quick Facebook post asking for anyone willing to turn over a used laptop they no longer use, she was overwhelmed with the response. It turns out that about 220 million tons of old electronics are thrown out in the US every year, and 50% of the computers tossed away are still in good working order. And then came the idea for Globetops.

Headquartered in New York City, Globetops matches used laptops with people around the world in need. The site hosts a page of profiles of potential recipients who state what they do, why they need a computer, and how will it contribute to their community. Donors can then choose a recipient based on their profile applications. For example, Mariama Bah is a University student in Guinea with hopes of becoming a doctor. On her profile she states that at her University there are only a few computers being shared by many. She feels that if she had a laptop she could better spend her time at the library doing research and writing papers, instead of waiting in line. Another benefit would be the ability to charge her laptop at school so she can study at home where she doesn’t have electricity in the evenings. Being from Kindia hear dream is to become a doctor to ensure more people in her community can have access to medical care.


Laptops are donated to Globetops and arrive at their command center either via mail, or a free NYC pickup service, where they are then assessed on a scale of 1-5 for quality. The computers are wiped clean, serviced and repaired back to a working condition before reaching their final homes in Haiti, India, Guinea or right in the US. Since most of the countries benefiting have populations with little experience working with technology, there is also a learning “certification” available so they can be trained on the basic usage of their new laptop. Globetops also understands there are struggling Americans who despite being part of a technologically engrained society, don’t actually have access to it, which is why they wanted to make sure they were also helping those close to home.

Though the idea was sparked with laptops, Becky is hoping that she can spread the idea to cellphones and clothing, tackling the issue of inequality through redistribution. Becky Morrison is a social entrepreneur who is showing that change doesn’t have to come from a new product or invention. Globetops is simply a new way of thinking, while making the most of what we already have.

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