Interview with stakeholder from Polish pilot activities

December 16th, 2014

An interview with Daniel Brożek, a President of the Occupational Therapy Workshops in Kowalewo Pomorskie, a division of the Society of Children’s Friends of Toruń, which is a partner of the Marshal’s Office in CERREC Project – Central Europe Repair & Re-use Centres and Networks. Daniel Brożek tells us, why it is worth repairing and re-using electrical and electronic equipment and other things.


Picture: Daniel Brożek, a President of the Occupational Therapy Workshops in Kowalewo Pomorskie

From June to October in the Kujawsko-Pomorskie Province used equipment has been collected under the CERREC project. Please tell us about the initiative.

The main objective of the collection was to make the society aware of the fact that useless things, which stand in our way at home and in offices, including, faulty and often destroyed electrical and electronic home or office equipment, can be very useful. At worst, a lot of valuable elements can be recovered and then repaired and given to those, who need them. The Occupational Therapy Workshops conducted by the division of the Society of Children’s Friends in Toruń in Kowalewo Pomorskie, where disabled people work and undergo social therapy, have become a part of the network, which ensures that used and worn objects are not disposed at landfills, but are often given new lives.
Attendants of the Occupational Therapy Workshops have completed a course on minor repairs of computers, TV sets, telephones and similar things as well as disassembly and segregation of objects, which it gets and has to diagnose. We repair things, which can still be used and sort other things separating electronic, plastic and metal parts.

How is it done in practice?

We remove efficient parts from several computers and use them to assemble one properly operating computer. Sometimes we get computers with only one faulty subassembly, so it is not difficult to repair them. In our Occupational Therapy Workshops only there are ten monitors and five computers assembled this way. Some of the repaired equipment is used for occupational therapy of the workshop attendants and the rest is donated to the needy, including kindergartens in Kowalewo Pomorskie, the local cultural centre and a lot of poor people. We really enjoy doing it.
Attendants of the Occupational Therapy Workshops are so skilled at handling the type of equipment that, for example, they can disassemble a printer (perhaps not all types, but they really can do it with those commonly used), clean it, protect and assemble and the printer really works. This is the added value of the undertaking. We are very pleased that the Marshal’s Office invited us to join CERREC project, as, this way, we can extend our activities considerably.
We want our activities to have some serious results. We intend to establish a social economics entity, which would be oriented on recycling of electrical and electronic equipment.

How many objects obtained can be repaired and given to others?

About one third can be made efficient successfully and the rest is disassembled. Perhaps it is even more, as some efficient parts from disassembled computers are put away on a shelf. Such elements can still be useful. When we enter our business activities in a register, we will try to promote them on Facebook or Allegro to give the equipment to interested persons for small symbolic amounts.

Are inhabitants of our province eager to give unused equipment?

We have also made requests to the Guild of Different Crafts and Industrial and Commercial Chamber for supporting the promotion of our activities among businessmen. We have got such a good response that we may say that our „operating capacities” have been somewhat overburdened. We get so many things that we are not able to handle them on an ongoing basis. This means that our social economics entity has to be established as soon as possible. So far we have been doing all this as part of our occupational therapy workshops.
The promotion during collections had a good and positive response. Now a lot of people call us and ask how they can give things. We would like to thank them all and invite them to cooperate with us.

What prevents you from establishing a social economics entity?

The problem is with law. Employment offices have funds for activation of the unemployed. However, the situation of jobseekers have not been defined precisely in respective provisions. The disabled, who attend our workshops collect some benefits connected with their disability, but they cannot be registered as unemployed, but as jobseekers only. We need to seek funds for them to start their business activities.