Success Stories | The Turing Trust | LAUNCH.ed | Edinburgh Innovations

"The Turing Trust is a charity which refurbishes computers donated in the UK for use in schools overseas."

James Turing


PhD student James Turing founded the Turing Trust in honour of his great uncle, the computer scientist and World War II code-breaker Alan Turing. Believing in a world of equal opportunity, with technology-enabled education for all, the Trust provides IT equipment, loaded with educational resources, and training to schools in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Currently working on this PhD in International Development James’ research focuses on the circular economy in Kenya.

After his first trip to Ghana in 2009, James noticed how difficult it was for schools to get reasonable computers at affordable prices. Coupled with how easy it is to get used computers in the UK James saw an opportunity. With a team of staff and volunteers in Edinburgh, the registered charity wipe computers to industry standards and refurbish them for reuse in Africa. They are loaded with educational content and shipped to partners in Ghana and Malawi who distribute the equipment to schools and provide teacher training on the use of computers and maintenance support.

After years of re-purposing computers James established the SolarBerry to tackle the biggest challenge they face: access to electricity. SolarBerry is a self-financing, community-owned, off-grid computer laboratory powered by solar energy and delivering educational resources with low energy Raspberry Pi computers. The first SolarBerry will support 250 students and around 1,000 adult learners in Choma Community Day Secondary School, a rural area in northern Malawi.

To date the Trust has supported hundreds of schools in Ghana, Liberia and Malawi with over 4,000 computers. As a result 25,000 students in Africa are now IT literate with 450 teachers trained with basic computer maintenance skills. The Turing Trust also provides environmental benefits as 55 tonnes of waste has been diverted and reused with over 2,000 tonnes of carbon being saved.

“We received significant financial support thanks to the advice from our business adviser. We have been awarded various grants and won several competitions. Having a long standing relationship with someone who genuinely has your best interests at heart, being a neutral sounding board, knowing the grants industry and what’s right to apply for and what’s not. Giving advice you don’t necessarily want to hear but need to hear to allow for growth and scale over time.”

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