Shmoocon 2016: Hackers for Charity

To one side of the “Chill Room” at this year’s Shmoocon were a few tables for Hackers for Charity. This is an initiative to make skills-training available for people in Uganda. The organization is completely supported by the hacker community.

Hackers for Charity was founded by Johnny Long about seven years ago. He had been working as a penetration tester but you perhaps know him better from his many books on hacking. Having seen the lack of opportunity in some parts of the world, Johnny started Hackers for Charity as a way to get used electronics and office equipment into the hands of people who needed it most. This led to the foundation of a school in Uganda that teaches technology skills. This can be life-changing for the students who go on to further schooling, or often find clerical or law enforcement positions. Through the charity’s donations the training center is able to make tuition free for about 75% of the student body.

The education is more than just learning to use a word processor. The group has adopted a wide range of equipment and digital resources to make this an education you’d want for your own children. Think Chromebooks, Raspberry Pi, robotics, and fabrication. One really interesting aspect is the use of RACHEL, which is an effort to distribute free off-line educational content. This is a searchable repository of information that doesn’t require an Internet connection. Johnny told me that it doesn’t stop at the schoolroom door; they have the system on WiFi so that anyone in the village can connect and use the resources whether they’re students or not.

Shmoocon does something interesting with their T-shirt sales. They’re not actually selling shirts at all. They’re soliciting $15 donations. You donate, and you get a shirt and a chit — drop you chit in a box to decide where your $15 should go. This year, Hackers for Charity, the EFF, and World Bicycle Relief were the charities to choose from. If you want to help out this 501c3 organization, consider clicking the donate button you’ll find on the sidebar and footer of their webpage.

4 thoughts on “Shmoocon 2016: Hackers for Charity

  1. This is all fine and dandy, but you know what ? Show us your papers !!! Your papers please. As in full disclosure of all your financial statements from the banking institutions involved. Giving a paper trail of the donations received and funds disbursed (show the receipts of what was purchased with the money, etc).

    I stopped donating to “charities” when the CEO’s (and others on the board, other “administrators”, etc) – all had their hands out looking for a piece of the pie – and when it was all said and done, guess what ? only about 10 cents out of the dollar went to the actual “cause”, that someone thought they were donating to.

    So until you guys show full ‘transparency’ – audited bank statements showing income, and outgo (and who got the money – as in “follow the money”), I (and a heck of a lot of others) won’t be donating one cent !

      1. Great link… “pay me” to read their financials…. wonderful…. perhaps *YOU* should
        research what you post ahead of time…. idiot.

        So much for ‘transparency’. Tell you what genius, pay their fee and
        post the .pdf’s here. You’ll be doing everyone a favor, after all if you
        support this hacker charity group, wouldn’t you want to paint them in
        the best light possible ? What better way then to freely distribute all
        the information a potential donor would need to make an informed
        decision.

        Reminds one of the glass jars on the counter at convenience stores
        (with a picture of some sick kid). Plenty of those store owners just pocket
        the money. Plenty of “charities” that are run out of a basement, and the
        organizers dispense, maybe $1 out of $100 to the ’cause’.

        A fool and his money are soon parted.

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