Zonta Club of Hong Kong helps underprivileged families with e-learning stresses during COVID-19 pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, schools are limited to e-learning for a prolonged period. This has caused a lot of stress to mothers and children, particularly for the underprivileged families with no access to internet and digital devices.

In August 2020, the Zonta Club of Hong Kong launched a three-stage service and advocacy project named Project ABC.

For Project A, Knowledge Superhighway, the Zonta Club of Hong Kong aimed to bridge the socio-economic and digital divides. They appealed to internet services providers to provide free/reduced charges for needy families with school-aged children. With sponsorship from China Mobile Hong Kong, an in-kind donation from Microsoft and donations from club members, 1,600 prepaid SIM cards and 380 pocket Wi-Fi devices were distributed to 1,500 students and 100 mothers from more than 80 schools, with 130 mothers agreeing to join Project C.

For Project B, E-Devices, the club’s goal was to further improve the preparedness of e-learning. They appealed to the commercial sector to request donations of used devices for students. With donations from commercial firms Sequoia Capital China, Ernst & Young, Graff Diamonds, PwC HK, Deloitte Hong Kong & Hony Capital, 99 used laptops and iPads were received and distributed to more than 25 secondary schools.

The market value of the donated items in these two projects amounted to more than HK$,1,000,000 (US$125,000), with close to 3,000 beneficiaries including mothers, siblings and families of the students.

For Project C, Mothers Helping Mothers, an e-channel was launched for registered mothers to access useful resources during this social distancing period. The channel includes videos on sharing e-learning experiences, helpful tips on health care and instructional videos on using e-devices. The channel will help these women gain valuable digital skills, and the club hopes the mothers will also connect with club members. The project is still ongoing, as videos are continually being added to the e-channel to help release stress from the mothers during the pandemic and also provide learning tools for women to acquire digital skills.