United Way's five-year partnership with Lenovo is building on the company’s social investments in STEM education and empowering diverse and under resourced populations. This mission very much aligns with our own, of “improving lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities around the world” and our work in Europe & Middle East region, where we mainly support children and youth affected by poverty and social exclusion.
In 2020, United Way organizations from Hungary, Romania, and our partner in Poland, The Good Initiatives Foundation - Fundacja Dobrych Inicjatyw (FDI), successfully reached out to about 1.800 disadvantaged children, youth, parents and senior citizens, improving their lives through the use of technology. Forty Lenovo volunteers participated in the various activities, giving their time and talent to those who need it most. In addition to this, 115 more Lenovo employees have volunteered 564 hours, through the Global Month of Service, in UK, Spain, Poland and Hungary, where they helped 1,000 vulnerable individuals.
More than 300 youth have participated in United Way Hungary’s competency development program that improves teenagers’ employability and entrepreneurship skills (e.g. creativity, taking initiative, collaboration, learning through experience, ethical & sustainable thinking, planning and management, financial & economic literacy).
United Way Romania helped disadvantaged children and teenagers become more aware of the potential risks when using the internet, such as cyberbullying, allowing them to prepare for a safer online experience and presence. The project was prepared with Lenovo's volunteers' support and proved to be very helpful during these times marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, when schools were suddenly closed, and children started online classes. A 10-year-old girl from Romania said: "I know that I'm not allowed to access certain pages as someone could steal my account, my data, and even my money".
In Poland, disadvantaged children such as those coming from orphanages constitute one of the most vulnerable groups. The local communities have a moral obligation to help as youth make the transition to independent living. In this context, the partnership with Lenovo brings significant contributions towards improving children and young people’s preparation for further education and work. IT education, project management and competency development are developed in specific “clubs” where online safety is also addressed. Additionally, hundreds of food packages and Christmas gifts were offered to senior citizens and children from orphanages. A 17-year-old girl from Poland said: “I was skeptical of these online workshops because we have online school lessons every day. But it was different and more interesting. Now I know how to use various free computer tools for studying and work. I understand it better than my friends from school”.
Due to the pandemic, many countries had to implement social distancing, but despite it all, this partnership has shown the determination, and level of commitment United Way and Lenovo have to improve the lives of disadvantaged people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.