Sometimes, it's the little things

PUMA employee Tesfom Ghebreab enables schoolchildren in Eritrea to acquire digital know-how

June 23, 2023

PUMA employee Tesfom Ghebreab enables schoolchildren in Eritrea to acquire digital know-how

June 23, 2023

Tesfom Ghebreab has been a PUMA for 15 years and is currently our store manager at the flagship store in Berlin. When he was asked to trade in his old company laptop for a new one, he learned about the Used Hardware Purchase Program and saw an opportunity to improve the lives of school children in Eritrea. Read on to learn his story!

Tess, tell us, what’s the laptop story all about?

Tess: I am originally from Eritrea – I grew up there until I was about four years old. My family is from the village of Habela in eastern Eritrea and since I’ve been living in Germany, I’ve been visiting the country and the village every once in a while. During one of my visits I noticed that the school there is poorly equipped and lacks many things that we in Germany take for granted. Back at work in Berlin, I had to replace my company laptop and then I found out that there is a possibility to buy back your old PUMA laptop at a reasonable price through the Used Hardware Purchase Program. Of course I immediately thought of the school in Habela and the fact that they don’t have a single laptop there.


So, you bought your laptop back then?

Tess: Unfortunately, it wasn’t that easy – as a store manager, I wasn’t cleared for that function at the time. I got my area manager involved and together we were able to convince PUMA IT that not only could I buy back my old laptop, but that we could purchase five more old laptops via the program to help the Eritrean school.

That’s great! How did you convince PUMA IT to do this?

Tess: Actually, you can only make one request per year to buy back your old equipment. That’s what it says on the Sharepoint page and makes perfect sense, because you’re not supposed to open an electronics store with used PUMA equipment 😉. But when we explained the situation and made it clear that the laptops would have a real positive impact on the lives of many children in Eritrea and would really be put into good hands there, we got the go-ahead for the project. In fact, I got a volume discount and invested the savings for a sixth laptop, so in the end we were able to donate six laptops. I’m really grateful to PUMA for that opportunity and so are the kids in Hamela!


Very cool! Have you received any feedback from Eritrea so far?

Tess: Yes absolutely, the school management has contacted us and thanked us and also the teachers. We even received a certificate where they officially thanked us – both PUMA and me. Plus in the pictures you can see how much fun the students are having with the equipment and I heard that they are real PUMA fans now.

You said that the laptops make a real difference – how so?

Tess:  You have to think of the situation on site like this: before I could buy back the laptops, I first had to make sure whether the school even had the appropriate power lines. They do, they were actually built there in 2019 or so. The school has 900 students, 18 classrooms and classes are divided into an early shift and an afternoon shift. There is a lack of both books and digital equipment – until now, most of the students have never seen a computer. And especially in this day and age, where digital knowledge and computer use are so essential, I thought that needed to be changed! From this summer, thanks to the laptops at the school, there will be computer courses for the children during the vacations, and next school year the courses will be integrated into the curriculum. With this campaign we were able to create real added value for the future of the children in Hamela, which I am really proud of.

You are also involved in many other social projects. What are you currently working on? Will there be more old PUMA laptops in Eritrea?

Tess: Yes exactly, it actually started with me founding a soccer club for Eritreans in Berlin – I just wanted to offer refugees and young people a place with some structure, where they could let off some steam and enjoy themselves. I started the club back in 2018 and at that time I was also able to get Charity Cat on board, who provided us with soccer equipment. Today we even play games in the Berliner Fußballverband Kreisliga C with SC Lankwitz under the Nickname of  FC Eritrea Berlin!

I still go to Eritrea from time to time and visit the school and my village, there is always something to do there. Currently they are lacking projectors – through these they could multiply the effect of the laptops and more children could benefit. I generally try to support the Eritrean community in Berlin and of course I am happy if my background and my contacts at PUMA can make a difference!

Thank you for sharing your story! It’s great how our PUMAs are involved in charitable actions and how they try to make other peoples lives better.

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