United Way Netherlands is lending a hand to create a unique plan of action to help not only the isolation of elderly, but also refugees. The goal of this creative program is to help the elderly reintegrate in to Dutch society through the use of refurbished tablets. Helpdigitaal is repurposing second hand tablets in order to make them user-friendly for the older generation. This creates an opportunity for refugees to volunteer their time to interact virtually with the elderly community, as well as helping them navigate through the online world. For the refugees, this creates the chance to improve their language skills, as well as allowing them to learn the ins and outs of Dutch culture.
During the pandemic, the elderly communities around the world have been hit harder than most. With 155,000 seniors living in Dutch care facilities under strict COVID-19 guidelines, they have been unable to see friends or family, which results in a sense of isolation and loneliness. Similarly, refugees facing persecution from their home country now have the chance to learn the local language as well as become familiarized with local and Dutch culture. Through matched video calls between the elderly and refugees within the 3-month program, United Way Netherlands is helping to overcome loneliness by creating an unlikely community and opening lines of communication that may reduce feelings of seclusion within both parties. In the continuing effort to aid refugees in finding paid work, even within the declining job markets, United Way are going to offer subsidized educational programs that will enhance their chances at employment after their time spent volunteering. United Way Netherlands is not only addressing this issue in their home country, but is also in communication with United Way Spain, amongst other European countries, to extend their effort in combating loneliness.
United Way Netherlands is helping two improbable groups come together to overcome loneliness during COVID-19. We hope that this inspires you enough to click the link below to donate, and share to advocate.
Check out the UW Netherlands page to learn more about their programs.