Peyton Ogasawara ’20 was spurred to start We Ignite Change after meeting a middle schooler from a public housing development in Honolulu who didn’t have access to the internet. “If there was anything he wanted to look up or anything he wanted to learn, he couldn’t do it,” Ogasawara says. “So giving him a phone or laptop would be miles better than having nothing.” To address such technology inequalities, as well as the problem of electronic waste, he launched an endeavor that collects older mobile phones and laptops, refurbishes them with a basic operating system, then directs them to those who need them. In just a few months, he and his team have collected 17 phones (mostly Android) and 67 laptops, which have or will be distributed through the Hawaii Technology Academy (HTA). “Ultimately, I want students or kids around the world who need a phone to be able to order one and get it for free,” said Ogasawara, who is being mentored through Punahou’s Case Accelerator for Student Entrepreneurship. “I understand now that as an individual, especially at Punahou, you have the resources to do projects like this and really just help change people’s lives.”
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