By Lara Pickford-Gordon
The ‘Donate a project’ has not ended.
The Catholic News was informed by an official of the Catholic Education Board of Management that devices are still needed for teachers and pupils of primary schools at “all levels”.
In April, Archbishop Jason Gordon appealed for devices—laptops, smartphones, tablets—asking the public to contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The Archdiocese Facebook page carried the appeal. The devices were expected to be in good working condition and able to support online learning. Persons interested in helping were contacted and the logistics of collection worked out. The transfer to recipients subsequently organised.
Here are a few stories collected about the devices given.
Larry Ferreira donated a Kindle which belonged to his deceased sister, whom he said was “a soldier for Christ”. He stated, “I know that she would be smiling now seeing that we are doing the Lords work”.
Zeena Gemma Ali gave a tablet. She has a smartphone and access to a laptop at work so it was not an inconvenience to donate the tablet. Motivating her was facilitating education process. She said, “I am aware of the importance that teachers and students have a device that will enable them to have access to teach and learn, I wish I could do more but I trust God to provide. Thank you for all you are doing. God Bless”.
Erica Faustin wanted to do something since Lent after hearing Cathedral Administrator Fr Martin Sirju speak about almsgiving in his Ash Wednesday homily at the noon Mass.
She said, “Students from Bethlehem Boys’ and Girls’ and Nelson Street Boys’ and Girls’ RC were in attendance. Fr Sirju indicated that these were the ones who needed help. Not knowing anything about the schools I contacted the parish office and was given the name and phone number for the principal of Nelson St Girls’.”
She contacted the principal Lisa Hinds-Lynch and after several attempts finally met March 9.
Faustin got a tour of the school and they discussed the needs of pupils including used books, musical instruments and cooking utensils. Faustin related, “she also mentioned used laptops for her staff. I solicited former co-workers, friends and family members for assistance however schools were closed on March 13.”
The project was halted until school resumed and Faustin put it in God’s hands.
“Then His Grace asked for used devices. I instructed everyone who responded to my original request to join in with me and donate. Praise God!”
Precious Ragoobarsingh’s laptop had sentimental value, being associated with a beloved pet. She said, “The laptop that I have decided to donate to the Catholic Church for distribution following the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic was a prized possession of mine”. The laptop took her “quite a while” to get and became even more “priceless” during its use and the fond memories it became associated with. Ragoobarsingh explained, “The memories I have relate to a pet parrot which I had and which became my constant companion. The characteristics displayed by my pet (whom I named Lovo) while I worked on the laptop were so heart-warming and endeared me very much to him.”
When Lovo suddenly died over two years ago she could not muster the courage to use many items especially the laptop. It remained unused. She could not simply give it away.
The “timing and circumstances” felt right with the appeal for devices which she said is “a most worthy cause”.
Wayne Nero said watching Mass daily, sometimes the delayed broadcast on Trinity TV, became part of his routine with the social distancing caused by COVID-19.
He recalled His Grace’s words at a Mass when he likened being in quarantine or desert experience to the Upper Room where the disciples gathered in fear. At the time, Nero said, “Honestly, I felt that experience was for the disciples and nothing to do with me”. A homily on April 15 caused him to see things differently. “He explained that the two disciples on the road to Emmaus only recognised Jesus by the breaking of bread and their eyes were opened. He said that we too are modern disciples and that we also see the resurrected Christ when we celebrate the Eucharist”.
The Archbishop asked viewers to close their eyes and meditate. Nero added, “And like Mary, when seeing the risen Christ, I heard him talking to me personally.” In the moment he remembered His Grace’s appeal for working unused laptops for teachers and students who have no access to technology. “I remembered I have a laptop that is not in use and also that my two sons benefitted academically from the use of laptops. It was then that I decided to assist in reaching out to teachers and students” Nero said. On Thursday, April 16 he sent an email to Hope@catholictt.org stating “laptop available”.