"At the beginning of March, news regarding COVID-19 cases in Italy started surfacing. A video emerged on the internet in which army trucks were transporting coffins of coronavirus victims. The video triggered us to do something to help with the Covid-19 situation in Ireland. We started 'Comfort4Covid' with an aim to distribute tablets to coronavirus patients in the hospitals.
My name is Ciara Close, and I am part of a team of 11 in Dublin, Ireland. We have provided a simple medium of communication for the critically ill and isolated. We started by raising funds for the tablets in the first week of April. Our challenge was to buy the tablets in huge numbers. Many tablet manufacturers are based in China, and the supply chain network was badly affected because of the lockdown. Additionally, the demand for tablets grew significantly as people started working from home, and as children started home-school.
Fortunately, some companies were keen to help and offered us good rates.
Our approach was to provide tablets with sim-cards to ensure they work even in facilities without a good wi-fi connection. Companies, such as Vodafone and Three, have helped us immensely by donating sim cards with 4G data plans. We have been extremely lucky to receive donations in the form of logistical services from DHL.
Initially, our focus was on delivering the tablets to the major hospitals in Ireland. As we progressed we realized that there were many senior citizens isolated in nursing homes. Many did not have smartphones, making it difficult for them to connect with their families over a video call.
We got in touch with the Health Services Executive of Ireland to get a list of beneficiaries. There are about 600 nursing homes in Ireland, and our goal was to donate 1000 tablets. Last week we officially donated 1052nd tablet, and it was time we start winding down our operations.
The tablets will remain with the beneficiaries to ensure they have access to them in case a second wave hits Ireland.
It is gratifying to receive great feedback on how our initiative has helped many. People are able to see their grandchildren over a video call. Many are able to attend virtual birthday celebrations or the Sunday mass. This is the most satisfying feeling for us.
When we started we were unsure how people would respond. Although I have handled many fundraisers in the past, this was a big challenge. Gradually, things fell into place. At the end of the day, when we realize that we have distributed over 1000 tablets impacting over 20,000 lives, it makes everything worth it.
You Humanity pays respect and gratitude to Ciara and the entire team of Comfort4Covid for going above and beyond to contribute towards Humanity.
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