Rescuing Old PCs to Donate to Struggling Costa Rican Families

Update Aug 3rd: You people rock! As of yesterday, we hit the $250 mark. This money is going to help immensely in getting more PCs put together for these Tico families. Local expats have material donations and others are offering to carry in parts on their next visit to Costa Rica. Awesome!

Even though we hit the goal, the campaign is still open through August, so if you could spare even a dollar, it would be greatly appreciated and put to good work. My heartfelt thank to everyone who supports this project!!

Kapipal badge for PCs for Costa Ricans project
Just a $1 minimum donation limit
I had a twenty year career in the software industry. My last 10 years were working for Intel in Oregon where I picked up enough hardware knowledge also to maintain and repair the average desktop or laptop personal computer. 

When we moved down here to Costa Rica in 2008, I brought along several PCs and a lot of parts. It's a fun hobby creating a new working computer from spare parts and I use these skills not only to maintain our own flock of PCs, but to restore old Pentium or AMD machines, which I donate to local Tico families who could otherwise not afford them.

running computer without a case
A recent concoction that only lacked a case to put it in
I've pretty much run through most of the backup parts I brought down or scrounged here and there. Plus, there always seem to be a few parts that are hard to find or order cheaply such as power supplies, motherboards, CD/DVD drives and so on. There are a few local sources but it's hit and miss.

I've built about 8 PCs this way, all of which I've donated or will donate soon to the poorest families in my area in southern Costa Rica. Usually, these families have to come up with their own monitor (pantalla) as those are especially hard to find in working order and new ones are not cheap. Internet is relatively cheap here now, so the PC is all they need to get connected with the world.

I'd like to ramp this part-time activity up a bit, which is why I've set up a Kapipal crowdfunding page. A small reserve of cash will help me obtain parts more quickly and cover shipping for some of the heavier items that I find on eBay or classified ad sites. I can build more PCs to help more Tico families and if the crowdfunding idea takes off even a little bit, I could train and pay a local technician to help out.

Software, by the way, is not an issue as I tend to load the machines with some flavor of lightweight Linux, which is faster on the older machines than Windows and is free and comes with tons of free application software.

I hope readers don't mind donating a little bit to the cause. The minimum donation is $1 and every little bit helps to put smiles on faces and bring in more people to the digital age who otherwise might be shut out.

In advance, I thank anyone who can help out with a monetary donation or if you're local, the donation of parts. I'll do my best to make sure that donation are put to good use.  Pura vida!


  1. Just want to express my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has so far contributed and/or is spreading the word. This campaign has also led to contact with someone who can supply more PCs from the U.S. and once the details are ironed out, I will be starting a specific campaign for the shipping costs of those PCs. There are going to be a lot of smiling faces in this area as families are able to access the Internet and the kids get much needed computer skills. I will also be talking to nearby schools about what they can use in the way of computer equipment. Thanks everyone!

  2. Casey,
    My wife and I are coming to San Isidro & Uvita in September. We could mule some parts to you, so long as we're not talking cases. You can contact me at or thru Jane Gregson.
    Thanks & great idea!

    1. Thanks for the offer! No cases, but perhaps a motherboard or power supply? Those are high shipping cost items.


Thanks so much for your comment! - Casey

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