Family of five children in Sheffield become first to benefit from laptop campaign

A laptop campaign which is preventing young people in Sheffield from falling behind with their education is ‘already helping’ one family – the first to receive a donation.

Tuesday, 24th November 2020, 8:31 am

The Laptops for Kids campaign was launched by The Star, WANdisco and Learn Sheffield in September, and seeks to supply recycled devices to young people who currently have no access.

The devices, which also provide young people with safe internet access, have recently started being distributed to schools via Learn Sheffield.

Salma Akhtar, a married mother of five children, said: “Before the pandemic, we didn’t want our children to have their own gadgets because we didn’t believe in them. When we were growing up, we played outside all of the time.

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Salma Akhtar with her children Haadiya, Dayyan, Yusra, Ruqayyah and Abdul-Hannan, who have received a laptop as part of the Laptops for Kids campaign. Picture: Scott Merrylees.

“But with lockdown, our mindset changed. The children need devices to do their school work at home and this donation has really helped us as a family.”

The Akhtar’s, who live in Nether Edge, are just one of many families in Sheffield who have had at least one child needing to self isolate due to classmates or teachers testing positive for Covid-19.

Salma, aged 36, said the donated laptop is already helping her children to keep up with their schoolwork, giving them the opportunity to continue with their education and achieve their desired future careers.

She added: “Our kids are ambitious. Haadiya, aged five, wants to be a pilot. Abdul-Hannan, aged five, wants to play for Manchester United. Ruqayyah, aged seven, wants to be a neurosurgeon. Dayyan, aged eight, wants to be a train engineer and Yusra, aged nine, wants to be headteacher at Nether Edge Primary School - she thinks it is fab and wants to be just like Mrs Nott.”

More families across Sheffield will receive devices as donations come in.

WANdisco chief executive David Richards said: “Our campaign is having a real impact on families like the Akhtars. Every child in Sheffield should have every opportunity to fulfil their potential.”

The Laptops for Kids campaign is still seeking unused laptops, tablets, desktops and chargers.

Donors can securely erase devices themselves or the campaign can arrange for the certified secure erasure of devices with software donated by Blancco, a data security firm.

Visit to arrange a donation.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.