When the home-based learning first started, 15-year-old Q had to borrow an old tablet from her neighbour as the family did not have one. The tablet, though appreciated, was slow and lagged which made it difficult to focus online classes.
“Because of this I missed some of the virtual classes,” said Q, who lives with her mother, a teacher’s assistant in a special needs childcare centre, and three other siblings in their rental flat.
As part of Singapore’s circuit breaker measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, schools shifted to full home-based learning from 8 April to 4 May.
To help children such as Q, AMKFSC started Tech against COVID19 in April, an initiative to enable children in vulnerable communities to continue their learning. As part of the project, the social service agency sought donations of laptops/devices for children in low-income families.
“In an economic downturn, low income families, especially those in daily rated or contract work, often experience a loss of employment on a prolonged basis thus worsening an already difficult financial situation,” said AMKFSC’s senior assistant director Mohamed Fareez Bin Mohamed Fahmy.
He noted that children face additional challenges adjusting to home-based learning when they do not have the basic necessities such as tablets or laptops.
“This can have a downward spiral effect with longer term consequences for children if timely support is not given to help them ride over the difficulties,” he said, adding it can take longer to get Government assistance due to increased demand.
AMKFSC therefore reached out to several partnering organisations, including DBS Bank, for device donations. DBS extended this call and reached out to one of its technology vendors, Huawei. The tech firm promptly agreed to donate and deliver 100 of its Huawei Mediapad.
In total, AMKFSC collected 200 devices.
Q was among the beneficiaries who received the tablet mid-April.
“With the tablet, I could better access the online classes,” she said. It’s also easier for her to video call her classmates to check in with them and get help with schoolwork.
CEO of Huawei International Nicholas Ma said, “In Huawei, we believe that education represents the future of a nation, and younger generations are the pillars of that future. That’s why we are more than happy to join hands with DBS in this good cause.
“In difficult times like this, we are “breaking the virus transmission circuit” but must at the same time bridging digital gap so that no child is left behind.”
Said Mr Mohamed Fareez, “We feel so encouraged that DBS and Huawei have blessed families with the tablets. This support goes a long way in making the experiences of children and young persons, who are doing home based learning, much smoother during this challenging circuit breaker period.”
DBS Stronger Together Fund
To help communities hard-hit by Covid-19, DBS is donating S$10.5 million to provide some 4.5 million meals and care packs, as well as medical supplies, across the region, through the DBS Stronger Together Fund. In Singapore, DBS is partnering The Food Bank Singapore and ItsRainingRaincoats to distribute 700,000 meals for the elderly, low-income and migrant workers. This includes a dollar-for-dollar matching for public funds raised, up to a total of S$500,000.
Find out more about the fund here.
Join DBS in supporting those in need!
Sponsor meals for the elderly and low-income here.
Sponsor meals for migrant workers here.