Computer Lab & Drive

Computer Lab 4 two-hour experimental workshops for the 100 NOW participants during the February 2020 vacation (involves setting up a mobile computer room).

3-to-4 weeks of Computer Drive collection from the congregation(s), individuals, businesses and non-profits (followed by 3-to-4 weeks of volunteers reconditioning, followed be 3-to-4 weeks of redistributing) (involves logistics and other partners)

The goal is to address digital inclusion of refugees. The Internet is a new way to exclude painlessly.

Paris and immediate suburbs. The Lab would be at ACP. The collect would be at the American Church in Paris and other points. The computers would be stored hopefully with a logistical partner or at my home. The reconditioning would happen either at the Church or with a logistical partner. The distribution would be from a partner or by volunteers to interested beneficiaries.

Why & What For?

The social purpose is to provide fellowship between congregants and with the beneficiaries around the computers and not through the computers (and other digital devices).

In the lab, we gather in a social space. In the collect, we are in a giving and trusting mode. In the reconditioning, it is like kitchen ministry, we are preparing. In the donation/distribution mode, we are in contact as well. As we engage in these activities, we also share knowledge and know-how. Like with preparing a meal, everyone involved is not only better equipped in skill and equipment, but also more comfortable to talk about computers and seek help in the other virtual world. Here is a document compatible with the purpose of this ministry:

This ministry provides material support mainly to refugees. It is an expression of efficient charity. It will allow beneficiaries and probably their own families to better participate in society.

Past History

I responded in 2015 to a call from the non-profit, Aurore, in France to equip computer rooms and organize computer classes. This was not through ACP. This experience may have led Tom Wilscam to invite me to participate in the Refugee Ministry.  After having been nominated as lay person to pursue the computer project to teach computers to minors with Danica Jurisic, the project evolved into workshops with the help of Aurore at La Maison des Voisins in the 14th. There was a 500 € budget line item for ACP room rental in 2019 that was never needed/used.

I, Chris Mann, am the lay-leader of this ministry as part of Refugee Ministry. I was invited to assist in the name of the RM an outside effort for a 3D printer class that could have taken place at ACP but took place elsewhere instead. I donated my own time and my network to that effort.

Volunteer Involvement

For the Computer Lab, I would like to invite ACP members to teach how to run a computer lab for refugees and marginalized persons. There is also a question of borrowing computers for the Computer Lab. I would need about six to eight computers. I would like the help of one ACP person for the setting up of the make-shift computer room and the testing of the internet connection.

For the Computer Drive, there are different opportunities according to the phase.

COLLECT IN: ACP Members donate their computers, help bring the computers to a storage space, go to pick up computers, teach one another how to erase their disk drives, help with the communication, organize the material in the storage space.

CONDITIONING / PROCESSING: ACP Members, hopefully in workshops, help one another fix and prepare computers / telephones / tablets for others; we order missing parts; we teach each other how to fix computers; we fix computers.

DONATE OUT: We find persons who can benefit from our efforts. Jean Taquet could recommend people at ACP via the Immigration Clinic who might benefit from having a computer.  There would be very little discrimination on the distribution of computers. The main criteria would be the ability of the recipient to benefit from the computer.

We bring the computers to people or show them how to use the computers, if needed; we move the computers from the storage areas to the persons (or non-profits) who can use them.


For the Computer Lab, since it is during February school vacation, we would like the donation of a room by the ACP without rental charge just as the 100NOW is not charged for the use of the ACP gym .  This needs to be negotiated.

Also, for the Computer Lab, we hope to have computers loaned to ACP for little or no money, but there may be small expenditures linked to making sure that everything works well. As a defensive measure, I was thinking about purchasing a Google Wifi device that can create a wired and wireless isolated network. It would be more secure and reusable by ACP when they need an isolated and autonomous sub-network. Without that, we would use the wireless network ACPGuest. That is about a 150 euro expenditure.

I find it useful to give something physical to the beneficiaries of a computer lab, such as a USB key. However, a USB key is not always a good idea, because it is easy to lose. I could potentially use a budget of 5-10 euros per participant for a still to be determined purpose.

I hope to borrow from different people in my network most of what I need for the computer lab, but request a contingency of 85 euros.

TOTAL COMPUTER LAB: 265 € or less. + Room rental

For the Computer Drive, the main issue is those small spare parts required to make the computers work well again. Often portable computers could use a 20-euro battery, or charger, or a 35-euro disk drive or RAM exchange. Congregants may sometimes throw away computers that could be put to good use for little money. I request a budget of 30 Euros per computer for 15 computers. The hope is that we would be able to start the repairs and that some of the beneficiaries would be able to reimburse the margin cost of the computers or electronics they receive.

I would like to distribute 10-25 USB keys with a Linux distribution allowing interested parties to erase their own computers before donating them. I would include instructions on how to do so. It would be useful to provide tools — mainly screwdriver sets — to volunteers to fix the computers. We might also use a universal charger to test chargers that may not work. We may incur costs from moving computers around. We would need a room and time for a team of volunteers to fix the computers together and distribute them. I hope ACP would be open to making this room available free of charge or at a reduced rate during the summer vacation. There might also be the possibility of having the computer repair workshops elsewhere (Ressourcerie).

TOTAL COMPUTER DRIVE 695 € + room rental.


I, Chris Mann, have been doing this kind of volunteer work since 2015 pretty much on my own initiative with other volunteers in an unsystematic way. It is an honor to have the potential support of ACP in the effort. This work is easy for me to do, provides service and is a great way to provide community.

My current activity with la Ressourcerie is involved with recycling computers and bridging a digital divide. This is a happy coincidence. Collaborating with outside partners for logistical and distribution support is desirable. I was thinking about the Ressourceries and the Petits Débrouillards. Potentially, we could include others.

The support of Refugee Ministry is a gift. Given the complexity of the project and my time limits, this project requires a co-lay leader, still to be identified.

If you think recovering a password is a hassle, try doing it without a portable phone. That is the main issue many marginalized people have to face. Likewise, helping marginalized persons and parishioners become more comfortable with the digital world is not all that different.