Staying connected and supported using technology

27 Mar 2020

As the government encourages "social distancing" in the fight against coronavirus, we’re seeing the closure of libraries, community centres and most of the places where Be Connected Network Partners would usually hold their digital skills sessions.

In spite of this, many of our Network Partners are finding creative ways to keep in touch with their communities and provide their ongoing support through technology.

Inspiring partners like Norminda Forteza, who is a Chaplain of the Australian-Filipino Community Services. With the closure of churches and places of worship, Norminda saw the importance of staying connected during a time of crisis and began leading prayers remotely using Facebook messenger.

“Through the Be Connected program, our seniors gained the digital skills to use Facebook and Facebook Messenger to connect with friends and families overseas. Now, all of our prayer vigil sessions are done via messenger. It’s important to provide a message of hope and address fears and isolation among seniors who are at home. We believe as an organisation we can share the message of strength to people of all ages and backgrounds.”

"Our staff and volunteers also connect with each other using Whatsapp, they watch Tagalog films together using Facebook watch parties, and sing together on Messenger because of their knowledge gained through our digital skills programs."

Although some of their clients might not have a device or a reliable internet connection at home, Norminda says they still keep in touch by calling them on their home phones.

“Our individual support staff rings every day at an agreed time to check on their wellbeing. These calls are highly in demand for seniors living alone. We believe that in a time like this, basic digital skills can save lives. Technology is helping to alleviate social isolation, it facilitates the fast exchange of information and promotes social connection in a safe and easily accessible platform.”

Supporting your own community through remote learning

If you’re looking to do run a session with your members remotely, take a look at the skillshares we’re running next week and this tipsheet to help you deliver sessions via webinar or videoconferencing software.

We recently documented the Australian-Filipino Community Services' Be Connected program in the video below.