ASU alumnus creates non-profit to provide refugees free computers

While Syria is facing a civil war halfway across the world, an ASU alumnus and a few Phoenix residents created a non-profit to provide a “candle of hope” for refugees.

PCs for Refugees provides free laptop and desktop computers to refugee families living in Arizona.

Ten months ago Riad Sbai, the founder and president of PCs for Refugees and an ASU alumnus, said he heard about refugees trickling into the Phoenix area, and began visiting the different families.

Sbai said he noticed almost immediately that none of these families had a computer, and he knew that was going to be a huge limitation in their lives.

As a Syrian-American with family members living as refugees, Sbai said he always followed the Syria crisis very closely, but he was unsure of how he could help.

“The most difficult part was being so far away and feeling helpless,” Sbai said.

He said he saw this as the perfect opportunity to help, and since starting the non-profit, this organization has helped 100 families, totaling about 600 people.

“The war has been going on for five years, and these families have been fleeing place to place,” Sbai said. “School unfortunately is not the biggest priority when you’re in that situation.”

That is where the idea of refurbishing old computers and packing them with educational programs was born.

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