On 2 April 2020, when the Circuit Breaker measures were announced, a challenge immediately came up for many Social Service Agencies that work with children and youth from low income families - how will they be able to participate in the new Home Based Learning programme with the closure of schools?
We began hearing stories like this one : a family with 3 siblings only had 1 laptop to share amongst them. They had to take turns to log into their school lessons as only one child could attend classes at any one time, with the other two skipping lessons as they had no laptops to use.
Filos Volunteer Centre stepped in to try to resolve this situation. We actively reached out to our community partners in Bedok Town that were serving families, children & youth to find out how many students were affected and what their needs were. Days were spent with a flurry of emails and text messages, trying to find resources to help these families.
Thankfully, many kind hearts responded quickly to these needs. Organisations like TOUCH Young Arrows and volunteer-run Engineering Good donated refurbished laptops to students. New initiatives started rolling out, like UOB’s My Digital Space, that loaned laptops to families with young children. A group of 3 friends banded together to contact TPG to donate 100GB SIM cards and to loan Wifi devices to families who need them. Through all these combined efforts, the Filos Volunteer Centre was able to link 47 students with donated laptops and 12 families with sponsored internet access.
The provision of sustainable IT services and resources for low income families, will continue to be a challenge. But as our community comes together, combining efforts to help those who need it, we encourage each other to overcome the difficulties of this unprecedented situation.
If you, your organisation, or your group of friends would like to support beneficiaries bridge the digital divide, please contact the Filos Volunteer Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s remain #SGUnited!
Mdm Idah lives with her two daughters, who are 11 and 4 years old respectively (Pictured) She came to know of Filos through a friend’s recommendation a year ago. Filos has been by her side in the past year, assisting in getting her kids enrolled with the Filos Tuition Programme and providing food rations for the family.
In light of COVID-19, her job as an Aircraft Cleaner at Changi Airport has been put on hold until further notice. Filos has been ramping up help for her and other beneficiaries via the Waves of Blessing initiative. The initiative aims to provide continued support to beneficiaries through these challenging times via the disbursement of care packs containing essential items. Mdm Idah and her daughters have expressed that the items such as the food rations, snacks and personal care items like hand sanitizers and soaps, are very useful to them. She can hardly afford to buy these items in the stores.
Her daughter is now enrolled in Filos’ Virtual Tuition classes and has been keeping up with weekly sessions. The virtual classes are helping her daughter with her schoolwork and Mdm Idah is grateful for this help for her.
When asked about her hopes and dreams about the future, Mdm Idah stated fervently that she hopes for COVID-19 to be over soon so that she can go back to work as per normal. She also hopes that everyone will stay positive, stay home and take care of personal hygiene. Her daughter told us that she hopes to continue to make her mum proud and happy. It is heartwarming to see the family staying positive and resilient, in spite of their current difficulties.