By Lindsay Mower, Assistant Editor
As he confidently strides into the room UMF junior Kabagambe Jjangu excuses himself for running late due to having traveled from Augusta to Farmington though, according to my agenda, he is a few minutes early.
Kaba’s well-dressed presence and warm smile convey professionalism. He is calm and engaged in the moment even though he has lately been impressively occupied with serving as Founder and Director of the non-profit organization TechnOldie Services, a non-profit organization that focuses on further empowering senior citizens through the use of technology.
Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kaba first lived in Lowell, Massachusetts after moving to the United States and has been living in Farmington for the past three years taking classes that support his majors in Health Information Systems and Community Health Education as well as a minor in Computer Science.
What started as a simple and insightful idea to better the community quickly became a reality for Kaba. Having seen the impact that technology has on our daily lives as millennials, his wish was to see senior citizens be able to experience the same benefits that we do. The solution that he came up with was TechnOldie Services. For the past year Kaba has been committing his life’s energy to bringing his idea to fruition.
Kaba thoughtfully describes the moment this idea popped into his mind as happening while laying in a hammock by the lake having fun and “just chilling.”
“I was just reflecting on how great UMF has been; how great of an experience it has been for me,” he said, “I kind of wanted to do something, not just for UMF, but for the Farmington community in general.” As Kaba started brainstorming, the pieces quickly fell into place.
“Something came to my mind. I was like, ‘Oh, we have the oldest state population in the nation, so I can start from there,” he said. When considering his skill set in computer technology, he asked himself how he can do something technology-related to help older folks. “I came up with TechnOldie Services. Basically our mission is to empower Seniors through technology. We do anything from connecting people with their loved ones through social media platforms, we have done that a lot. We’ve done computer troubleshooting, help them sign up for newsletters,” said Kaba. “Some people have businesses they are running and they don’t know what is the right way to market.”
TechnOldie Services became an official non-profit organization with a 501 (c) 3 tax-exempt status this year. As of now there are five functioning volunteers in the staff and most of them are computer science and business related majors.
TechnOldie Services are free of charge. “Every week we work with clients around here,” said Kaba, “We also expand and go see people like 20, 30 minutes away.” The volunteers for TechnOldie Services will travel up to an hour away, though most of the clients that they see on a regular basis are in the Franklin County area.
Kaba is professional and articulate while describing his vision. “What makes TechnOldie Services very unique is that we value our clients places of comfort, so we go to their houses, we go to Java Joes, we go to Dunkin Donuts, wherever they feel comfortable,” he said. “Some people don’t know how to use Google, you know? We might have to start from there. Some people don’t know how to turn on a computer or how to use a mouse. Things that our generation find really basic, but some of those folks have no clue what it is.”
TechnOldie Services is just starting to apply for government and local funding after relying on donations and using their own money throughout the startup process. “We have been operating on our own pockets, but we love it,” said Kaba. “We make people smile; you’ll see in their pictures. It’s just priceless how much of an impact we are bringing to people.”
Kaba’s humble personality and unquestionable commitment to bettering the community of Franklin County are what make him stand out among the array of students at UMF. Community Health Education professor Dr. Alireza Geshnizjani thinks highly of his character. “Kaba is a hard worker, smart and insightful,” he said, “He is a great community health advocate with a bright future ahead of him.”
Kaba would love to see TechnOldie services go nationwide at some point, though he concludes that their main goal right now is expanding their market and getting people informed about what they are doing. You can find out more information about TechnOldie Services at http://technoldieservices.org/ and you can also ‘like’ them on Facebook.