good bad brilliant · inspiring folk

MobileMuster – transforming lives AND lessening landfill

Being fifty-something, I’m inspired by two-birds-one-stone opportunities – social-positive concepts that do double-duty to make the most of my effort or donation.

This heartening partnership between MobileMuster and Able Australia has got inspirational written all over it.

For September and October, MobileMuster and Able Australia are joining forces in an initiative that supports Australia’s deafblind community while helping to recycle old mobile phones and accessories.

In a nutshell: instead of throwing your old phone to landfill, donate it to help someone reconnect with their community.

Here’s all the info you need.

How will my donation help others?

An estimated 288,000 Australians live with no hearing and sight. During September and October, collected smartphones will be donated to Able Australia to improve the digital literacy of the deafblind community. The phones will be used to help educate people with deafblindess on how to use speech recognition and braille readers via mobile technology.

Able Australia’s Scott Darkin says, “The smartphones donated will help deafblind people stay connected, which is something most of us take for granted. These donated smartphones will also increase their mobility, independence and help them navigate their way around their community. Your old phone could be the vital link that transforms a socially isolated person with deafblindness into an active member of their local community.”

Tell me about someone who’s already been helped?

Meet Michael Doherty. Michael broke through many barriers when he first received his smartphone through a donation. Using a braille display, he sent his first unassisted SMS to his sister.  Every week he collected phone numbers from old friends, family and supports and reconnected with his lost world.

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Through these conversations, his independence grew to a point where he was actively arranging his own social life, using taxis and going on holidays.   He quickly learned how to take photos and was able to send them to his friends so they could share in what he was doing.

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Every week he explored new territory on his phone, doing things that we all take for granted like setting an alarm to wake up in the morning, checking the weather or using a calendar instead of relying on his memory.

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Michael’s life has been transformed by his smartphone and it enables him the independence that we all take for granted.



Will you get enough phones to really make a difference to people like Michael?

Australia’s 31 million+plus mobile phone subscribers replace their handsets, on average, every 18 to 24 months.

“We know there are approximately 25.5 million unused mobiles sitting in homes and business around Australia,” says Spyro Kalos from MobileMuster. “Some of these may be smartphones that could help the deafblind community. Now is the perfect time to donate your unwanted mobile phone to a great cause.”

Mobile Muster will check every donated phone to confirm it’s working and will wipe any remaining data. The organisation will recycle any unusable phones in a safe, secure and ethical way.

OK, I want to help. How do I donate my phone?

Simply download and print a pre-paid postage label (make sure it’s the one that says Able Australia) from the MobileMuster website. Stick it onto your package and drop to any post office or at any red Australia Post box.

Is my phone eligible?

Able Australia requests that smartphones should be operational and be in good condition (no cracked screens). Ideally, iPhone 4 and above, Samsung Galaxy S4 and above, LG Nexus 7 and above and Nokia Lumia 540 and above. Include the charger if you have one but this is not essential. Please turn off and remove the device from Find My iPhone app or the Android equivalent and erase your content and settings.

What is MobileMuster?

MobileMuster is the only not-for-profit government accredited mobile phone recycling program in Australia and is funded solely by mobile phone industry’s members Microsoft, Motorola, Samsung, HTC, Huawei, ZTE, ALCATEL ONETOUCH, Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and Virgin Mobile. The aim of the program is to keep old mobiles and accessories out of landfill and ensure they are recycled safely, securely and ethically. Nothing is resold and all data is destroyed.

What is Able Australia? 

Able Australia has been working with the deafblind community since 1967 and believes deafblindness is very much Australia’s forgotten disability.

What am I waiting for?

Nothing. You’ve probably got at least one eligible phone gathering dust in a drawer somewhere. You kept it “just in case” and because you weren’t sure what to do with it. You’ve probably got the three previous phones sitting there, too.

Now, you know your unused smartphone could transform the life of someone like Michael.

Hop to it. Make a difference. Here’s the link again: MobileMuster Able Australia

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