The five children in isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic were trying to keep up with their classes.
“They were all trying to do homework on a cellphone — one cellphone,” said intensive family support worker Tamara Huget, who works with them through a Regina counselling service.
Last week, when Regina’s public and Catholic school boards announced they would be moving lessons entirely online in the week before and the week after the holiday break, Huget knew that these students, and many others she assists, would likely fall behind.
“They don’t have the technology,” said Huget, who is trying to change that.
On Wednesday, she put a call out on social media, seeking laptops, tablets and other devices that could be of help to 34 families with a combined 85 kids.
The donations began pouring in. In less than a week, she has enough to provide at least something to every one of the families.
“I can’t believe how people have been so generous,” Huget said. “You’ve got the pandemic going on. You’ve got people who are struggling themselves and people are just donating.”
Dudley and Company Chartered Accountants LLP, where Huget’s husband works, ordered 10 brand new tablets for the cause.
Partner Vern Jess said he’s thankful the Hugets put the issue on his radar.
“These children, it’s not their fault that they don’t have the sources to do it and they have to learn,” Jess said.
Huget began dropping off devices as she received them, trying to equip families with the technology the children needed ahead of the boards’ move to remote learning Monday.
“I didn’t want to let anyone know in case I wasn’t able to go forward,” she said. “I didn’t want to promise something I couldn’t do.”
The response from the recipients has been emotional, Huget said.
“They are so grateful,” she said.
“I had one mom just break down crying.”
Huget is hopeful people will continue to step up and help. She said ideally, she’d love to be able to offer each of the children she’s collecting for something to learn on.
“With Christmas now, if people are getting laptops and tablets, they can maybe donate their old ones,” she said.