Established in 1935, the REEA Foundation provides residential care facility for adults living with epilepsy and associated illnesses, housing 39 permanent beneficiaries with assisted care for all aspects of daily living.
Residents at the Section 21 non-profit organisation (NPO) are cared for around the clock by qualified nurses, and the Foundation also operates an HIV/AIDS orphan outreach programme, food security programmes for disabled or previously disadvantaged individuals, a day-care programme for persons with mild neurological disorders and a literacy outreach programme.
When Jonathan Duncan, Blue Label Telecoms’ Head of Continuous Improvement visited, and saw an opportunity to upskill some of REEA’s residents in the company’s contact centres, it brought together a holistic way to create earning capacity for residents, while fulfilling Blue Label’s commitment to sustainable solutions for disadvantaged individuals.
Says Duncan: “As a technology company in the business of connectivity via airtime and mobile transaction services that enable vital communications, BLT seized the opportunity to assist this important NPO to overcome the challenges it faced with limited funding, intermittent internet access and inadequate equipment and training.
“A quick review of how we could best assist the REEA Foundation to serve its residents’ and nurses while building on its ability to raise funds determined the scope of BLT’s assistance.”
Duncan says BLT created a bespoke “sustainable solution package” that includes eight computers, a printer / scanner, internet connectivity that includes a router and 100GB of data per month, as well as training to upskill certain residents and place them as Call Centre Agents where possible, to help fund the Foundation with some of its costs.
“With the disabilities of each potential trainee taken into account, skills development will be provided to every person who wishes to participate in learning how to use the internet to communicate via email or video calling.
“This will enable some 60 – 80 people to send emails and interact with their friends and families via Skype and Zoom, and possibly enter the workplace with their new skills, some in Blue Label Call Centres initially,” he notes, adding that success here could mean doors opening to other opportunities.
Elinor Demetrio, Social Worker for the REEA Foundation, says Blue Label has opened a door to unimagined possibilities for residents. “Connection with their families helps them realise that they are loved but not forgotten; connection with the world builds self-esteem and the ability to attempt and achieve goals of which they never dreamed. Thank you, Blue Label, for making the impossible possible.”
The handover of the computer lab to the REEA Foundation is on 11 October, when Duncan will officially provide the equipment and services that, he notes, “are really a way to provide dignity to some very special people.”