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Digital donations keeping vulnerable Victorians connected

Internet access is a necessity not a luxury

Donated winter gear a treat for regional youth

Many parts of regional Australia have done it doubly tough over the past 18 months.

For GIVIT in Victoria, a priority has been meeting the needs of those who lost their houses in the devastating Black Summer Bushfires. Many people who have lost property and possessions are yet to replace their computers and digital devices. Just a few months into bushfire recovery, COVID-19 struck Victoria, and these people and families have been left without a reliable means to stay in touch with friends and loved ones. 

COVID has highlighted how internet access is a necessity not a luxury.

During lockdown, it's been crucial to maintain online contact with friends and family in the absence of physical contact.

GIVIT was approached last year by a number of individuals and organisations from Gippsland, Eastern Victoria for assistance with the replacement of computers lost in the bushfires. 

GIVIT has been able to team up with Melbourne based charity, Beyond Disability Inc (BDI) to help hundreds of Victorians access the internet. Beyond Disability’s mission is to help as many people as possible to get onto the internet who are housebound, physically disabled, carers and veterans.

Internet access is a public good and a basic human right that can reduce the sense of isolation many face during this period of confinement. It has never been more important that we ensure everyone can connect.

ELEANOR SARPONG, DEPUTY DIRECTOR AND POLICY LEAD, ALLIANCE FOR AFFORDABLE INTERNET

Beyond Disability Inc partners with GIVIT

Klaus Jungling, BDI’s tech expert first heard of GIVIT when building fences in Gippsland after the 2020 bushfires.

“As soon as I heard about GIVIT, and became aware of their impressive reputation of matching donations with those in need, I arranged a donation of 20 computers from our stock that could be given to bushfire victims in the Gippsland region". In total BDI have donated more than 80 refurbished computers plus home-tech equipment through GIVIT for Victorians in need.

 

BDI was established in 1996. In the wake of a car accident and major spinal surgery, Richard Stubbs OAM was looking for a local disability tech group. Unable to find one, he started his own, and has since helped hundresd of families.

BDI helps veterans with PTSD, people with a disability or struggling to be technologically literate, and children from families who can’t afford a laptop. They also subsidise mobile broadband for those who don’t have NBN.

Klaus Jungling has worked closely with GIVIT on the ground. “Prior to GIVIT we found it difficult to readily find people and genuine, organised, local groups who needed technological items.”

By utilising GIVIT to identify persons and communities in need, BDI has donated over 80 refurbished computers plus home technology equipment to the following organisations:  

  • 15 desktop PCs to Wellsprings for Women in Dandenong
  • 6 laptops for the Cranbourne Lions Club to better support nursing and Aged Care homes
  • 5 desktop PCs to Olivia’s Place, who support vulnerable mums near Warragul 
  • They’ve even donated a laptop to a Canberran community group through GIVIT!

47 refurbished computers matched to those in need

Solange Ardiles of GIVIT Victoria says that prior to the partnership with BDO, there were very few computers on offer in Victoria via GIVIT’s online warehouse. 

The offer of computers was well received across the board, helping those who had lost their possessions in the fires and individuals isolated by COVID-19 restrictions. “BDI’s offer could not have come at a better time and we know the supply of the 47 computers have been very welcomed by all recipients.”

It is also a great example of the circular economy at work where BDI receive computers that are no longer required, update and refurbish them and in turn match them to genuine needs in the community with GIVIT's help. This partnership has helped divert electronic waste from landfill, instead helping many people stay connected through the pandemic.

The smart way to give

Want to help? Head to our what's needed page and use the filter options to customise your requests. You can:

  • Use the cause or keyword filter to find a request that resonates for you (e.g. search 'Humanitarian Support' or 'Natural Disaster' as a keyword.
  • Use the category filter to find requests for items that you can donate such as 'Computers and Technology'.
  • Use the location filter to find requests from organisations and charities working in specific towns and communities such as Victoria.

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