15 tech charities that need your help

Christmas isn’t just about presents and mince pies, but charity too. Here’s our top picks for tech-friendly non-profits that deserve your support.

IT Schools Africa was started in response to a lack of textbooks in African schools. Using computers would allow teachers to download materials for free, giving more students access.

In 2005, ITSA started collecting computers in Cheltenham to refurbish and ship them over. Working with partner Computers for African Schools, ITSA aims to deliver five million computers to needy kids on the continent by 2010.

You can help them reach their goal by donating here.

International Development

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Computer Aid International

Green, charitable and they spread the benefits of tech around the world what's not to like?

Computer Aid works with businesses in the UK and elsewhere to get their old tech following hardware refreshes, in order to pass it on to schools and groups in the developing world.

Like the good tech-heads that they are, the Computer Aid technicians professionally wipe all the data from donated equipment, to avoid any potential trouble, before refurbishing the computers and shipping them off to countries such as Malawi and Ethiopia.

You don't need a full desktop estate to get involved; you can donate a single computer, too. Or, if you're looking to make a one-off cash donation as a gift, they can be made here.

Telecoms Sans Frontiers

The France-based charity translated to Telecoms without Borders, for the linguistically-challenged out there was created in 1998, after its founders realised people displaced by conflict were desperate to make contact with their loved ones. After operations in the Balkans and the first Gulf War, TSF bought its first satellite telephone and offers three-minute calls for people to get in touch with their families.

Now, the charity also helps non-governmental organisations and UN agencies on the ground in disaster areas by offering stable communications infrastructure, including broadband bringing mobile "internet cafes" to some very troubled places. In their 10 years, they've helped out in 50 countries.

Donations can be made here.

Oxfam

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Famous for its Give a Goat gift campaign, the UK-founded charity also offers some more technical presents on its Unwrapped site, which lets people give a present in someone else's name to a needy person around the world.

For 16, you can send radio equipment to help spread education and disaster news, while for 50, you can send an emergency communications kit, which gives the recipients an early warning system with radios and satellite phones. Just 35 will see solar panels shippped off.

The gift gets sent to someone who really needs it, while your loved one gets a card.

Click here for more details.

Practical Action

With the slogan "technology challenging poverty," this is one charity that should be close to any geek's heart. The UK-based organisation runs energy, transport and communications programmes in areas such as Bangladesh, the Sudan and Latin America and also has a strong focus on information communication technologies (ICTs).

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