Supporting the Basildon BAME community during the pandemic

A picture of the tablet loaded with the software and wallpaper for Ngi IgboAbilityNet volunteers have given tech help as part of a digital support initiative for BAME households in Basildon, Essex to help learning from home during Covid-19. 

Uche Amechi from Ngi Igbo first contacted AbilityNet. Ngi Igbo is a charity that represents a particular community from South-eastern Nigeria. 

“We are mainly of the Igbo tribe, and we have a little community here in Basildon. We secured funding to help residents around Basildon,” said Uche. 

“The BAME community are reported to suffer the impacts of COVID, three and a half times more than their white counterparts,” he added. 

One of our objectives was to secure a number of tablets to help people from the community who had primary age children learning from home.

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Configuring the tablets for children

Through a local charity referral, Uche contacted AbilityNet to see if we could help set the tablets up so they’d be safe but meet the children’s needs. 

AbilityNet volunteer Dave Tolson from Essex received the request and was delighted to help.

“It wasn’t our usual request,” said Dave. “It wasn't a project for the elderly or disabled, but it had we had the right skills to support Uche. I met Uche outside at his house, and we stood with our masks on and had a chat about what he was looking for and a little bit about what they were doing,” added Dave. 

“Uche wanted to provide support via tablets to underprivileged children that might not have enough access to educational software,” said Dave.

He discussed the requirements with Uche, and they agreed on a set of requirements, including personalising the tablets to show they belonged to Ngi Igbo. “We used the logo and the lottery funding and gave it a specific design and wallpaper, and then we grouped some educational software.”

The software included Google Classroom and links to the BBC Bitesize modules, including spelling, Math, and English. 

Dave also installed the Zoom meeting app. 

Making a difference to local communities

Uche is currently triaging requests for the tablets, which will be with recipients soon. “It will help households who don’t have access to devices,” he said. 

He added,” “We have done it in a way that’s as beneficial as can be. The volunteers I have met from AbilityNet, are people who worked in the IT industry and then retired and are just doing things to help humanity out of compassion and the love to see other people progress. That was quite a breath of fresh air, actually.”

For AbilityNet volunteer Dave the hours are well spent. “I can imagine the kids' faces when they get hold of the tablets because it should be really, really helpful to them,” said Dave. 

How AbilityNet can Help

How AbilityNet has supported individuals during the pandemic