Jason Cross/Gleaner Writer
The Digicel Foundation has gifted 10 tablets equipped with at least a month’s worth of data to students with disabilities who have been struggling to study from home since COVID-19 forced the Government to shutter all schools.
It was the effort of the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) that made the donation of tablets a reality, and administrators there are hopeful for much more charity to assist students with disabilities.
The handover of the devices took place Thursday at the council’s offices on Ripon Road in St Andrew.
It was all smiles for one of the recipients, Laron Williamson, a second-year University of Technology, Jamaica student.
In 2013, one of his legs amputated after a truck carrying chickens crushed it.
Before that, Williamson had applied to the Jamaica Constabulary Force and passed the test, but because he was reduced to one leg, he couldn’t undergo training.
Despite all that, he never gave up and continued studying.
He shared that the tablets will help him a far way now, as his phone screen isn’t large enough to properly watch tutorials and other videos for school.
He said, too, that buying data was a hassle.
The executive director of the disabilities council, Christine Hendricks, said this and future tablet donations from Digicel and others will certainly meet the needs of her clients.
“We have hundreds who have applied and need help. We may not be able to the needs of everyone through Digicel Foundation alone, but we are seeking to partner with other individuals and companies to ensure students with disabilities continue their learning online and that they are not disenfranchised in any way,” she said.
Chief executive officer of the foundation, Charmaine Daniels, told The Gleaner that tablet discussions started in late March.
She shared that sourcing machines was quite daunting.
“It is very important that we found devices with the SIM card capability because some of these persons would not have Wi-Fi at home to just go on and connect. We had to buy them from Miami and I just got them today (Thursday) to be able to distribute.”
She said it was the foundation’s goal to work with persons with special needs.
And when Hendricks reached out to the foundation, they “just wanted to help, because this is already a vulnerable group of persons we are dealing with”.