The spread of COVID-19 has had an unimaginable impact on communities all across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) and indeed the globe, but these exceptionally trying times have also shed a brilliant light on the strength, compassion and resilience of those living within these communities who are striving to help others around them.
Inspired by this, we have offered our own support focused across three key areas: schools, key workers, and the elderly as well as others in need of help during the pandemic. We are also prioritizing supply to the healthcare and education sectors. To date, we’ve provided more than 3,500 tablets and computers, over 100,000 masks, and delivered financial donations across EMEA. This is just part of our global efforts, and we continue to be humbled and inspired by those on the frontline of the fight against coronavirus.
Here, we explore the work of our teams around the region.
Italy was among the first countries to be hit by the outbreak and it’s a huge credit to the frontline workers that the situation is now improving. Our team offered support through a charitable donation to the Luigi Sacco hospital of Milan, as well as shipping 50,000 masks to Lombardy, the region most affected by the pandemic.
But it’s not just frontline workers who need support. Recognising that many students are not equipped with the digital tools needed to continue education at home, we partnered with Microsoft to donate 190 laptops to schools in Milan and the town of Vo’ – in the region where Italy’s first cases were reported.
These were given to 19 schools and delivered to students most in need, and according to Alfonso D’Ambrosio, school manager of the Vo’ area, ensured “that not a single day of school has been missed.”
The team also answered the appeal of tech influencer Riccardo Palombo, donating 17 PCs for him to recommission and give to students. Palombo said, “Lenovo was the first company to respond to my appeal and showed care and attention in a difficult moment for our country.”
Finally, through working with other NGOs, we provided 32 notebooks to children from schools in a number of areas identified as being most at risk of educational poverty.
For key workers, Lenovo technology can help carry out diagnoses via video conference, while enabling people in intensive care to stay connected with their loved ones. In the UK, another country severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, 100 tablets were donated to the NHS via the inspiring #TabletswithLove campaign, and an additional 40 laptops were provided to Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust for support across their three hospital sites.
Elsewhere, HSE Ireland was provided with tablets, while BVA volunteers were equipped with smartphones to enable staff to connect to their support helpline.
Jacqui Barrett, co-Founder of Salient Future and #TabletsWithLove campaign creator, said: “Watching the videos of staff and patients reminds us just how much we all need that visual connection. There’s lots of talk about ‘community’ – and this is a powerful one. I am so grateful for everyone’s generosity of time and spirit. Thank you.”
In Spain, one of the hardest hit EMEA countries, Lenovo donated nearly 50,000 masks to Hospital Universitario Infanta Sofia and 365 tablets to hospitals and residential homes around the country, while a €100,000 donation was also made to Hospital La Paz Madrid and Insitut Català de la Salut.
Thanks in no small part to the efforts of frontline workers, many communities are seeing lockdown measures eased – Spain among them. However, it’s important to remember how painful isolation can be for the most vulnerable, like the elderly population.
As a community, we have a duty to ensure they feel less alone. This is why the team in Spain donated a number of tablets to residential homes, providing technology that can allow older people to remain connected with friends and loved ones.
In addition, Lenovo employees in Spain are offering their unused food vouchers as donations to those less fortunate.
As frontline workers in France battled to help manage the pandemic, Lenovo donated 1,600 tablets to hospital centers and retirement homes around the country. The team also donated 25 notebooks to support research and help the community in Grand Est, one of the most severely impacted regions.
Supporting education in the region is also a priority, and the team has provided 30 notebooks to students from families who don’t own a computer, via the Foundation of the University of Strasbourg.
Our team in Poland offered support in a variety of ways to key workers, donating laptops, sewing masks and providing meals, as well as delivering Motorola devices to a hospital in Wroclaw. Donations of filaments for 3D printers were also made, aiding the production of protective equipment.
Support was offered to the elderly community, with our team donating cash and books, while the Lenovo Foundation prepared food parcels, medicines, cosmetics and books, all distributed by Lenovo employees. The Polish team also took part in the Hot16 Challenge, where they have donated 10,000 PLN towards the fight against COVID-19.
Finally, our work with Society of Friends of Children and the Foundation of Good Initiatives saw the collection of used laptops from employees to be donated to children who need them, ensuring education can continue.
In Bratislava, we worked with NGO Malicek to distribute tablets to perinatal centers – frontline workers will be able to use the devices to share photos and videos of high-risk premature babies with parents who are unable to visit.
The team has also been working with crisis centre Repuls to provide children from less fortunate families with tablets so they can join classmates in online learning, as well as facemasks to help to protect the health of their employees and clients.
Also, while we’ve provided support to people of all walks of life, some of society’s most vulnerable groups still risk being overlooked. In Bratislava, we donated face masks to St. Vincent DePaul shelters, which houses and feeds hundreds of homeless people every day. There was a donation of germicidal lamps to keep the shelter virus free, while food has been provided to Nota Bene and DePaul shelters.
Many displaced people and refugees live in circumstances that prevent them from gaining the support they need during the coronavirus pandemic. This is why the Lenovo Foundation matched a $70K grant from the Benelux team to Save the Children, with funds going towards the TeamUp! Project that amongst others helps address COVID-19 prevention with refugee children and their families in Benelux and other European countries.
Our team is collaborating with United Way in the Netherlands to donate notebooks to EDU4U – assisting refugee University students by providing the means to continue their studies at home. Machiel Salomons, Executive Director, United Way Netherlands, explained that “the laptops have been received at a vital moment in time and will ensure the continuation of educational services.”
Lenovo technology also delivered to help the elderly population in the region, with 30 test samples of the Motorola moto G7 provided to local care homes, while 111 tablets have been donated to retirement homes in the Netherlands in partnership with a key retailer.
The elderly community was also a key focus for our team in Germany. Working in partnership with Media4Care, we donated 500 tablets equipped with specially developed apps so that the devices are easy to use for anyone, regardless of tech experience.
Together with Computacenter, we’ve also provided 10 IdeaPads to the children palliative care unit of the Munich University LMU, helping patients stay in contact with their family, caregivers and friends who are unable to visit.
In South Africa 50 tablets were donated to the Western Cape Department on Health and issued to district hospitals to be used by frontline workers and patients who are COVID-19 positive, helping them communicate with loved ones.
Jashmeer Maharaj, Deputy Director eHealth Projects & Support, at the Western Cape Department on Health, said, “On behalf of the department I would like to thank Lenovo for the generous offer to donate tablets that will assist in the screening and testing initiative. The support locally as well as abroad has been heartwarming during this challenging period.”
Support in other countries
While the virus reaches different phases around the EMEA region, our work and support for communities in need remains a priority.
In Turkey, 50 computers were donated to the Istanbul Cerrahpasa Medical School, while 650 washable protection masks were produced and delivered through the Lenovo service centre in Croatia. In Slovenia, tablets were donated to the Slovenian Ministry of Education Science and Sport for children whose families cannot afford computers, so they can join classmates in online learning.
Our team in Romania, donated $15,000 to NGO Day of Good (translated from Zi de Bine), and is working to offer offering medical equipment and protection equipment for key medical staff in the country’s smaller hospitals. Finally, our team in Hungary donated 100 tablets to orphanages via the House of Parents foundation, ensuring disadvantaged children do not fall behind in their education.
While there’s a long way to go in the fight against coronavirus, being in the position we are at Lenovo to provide support where it is needed is core to our company DNA and values. It is important to us that our vision of Smarter Technology For All also defines the way we respond during difficult times such as these.
Whether providing technology, medical equipment, funds or other types of support, we will never forget what a privilege it has been and continues to be to stand side by side with our communities to give something back.