Victoria domestic abuse support society issues plea for computers amid pandemic
Published Friday, April 24, 2020 5:05PM PDT Last Updated Friday, April 24, 2020 5:59PM PDT
A woman sits on the edge of a bed. (Shutterstock)
VICTORIA -- All of our lives have been impacted by COVID-19 and the disruptions are being felt by a local organization that supports women in domestic abuse situations.
Now, Victoria’s Bridges for Women Society is asking the community to help donate computers and laptops as the organization adjusts to offering programs remotely for women who have endured violence and abuse.
The society says women affected by violence and trauma are now more vulnerable than ever during the health crisis. The effects of physical distancing are especially hard on women seeking to break cycles of abuse.
Bridges for Women supports a diverse range of women who have been impacted by violence, abuse and trauma during any point in their lives – and who are looking to change their lives.
The society focuses on employment training and supportive programs to help inspire women to reclaim their lives and build economic stability. They have helped thousands of women since they began offering programs in 1988.
Before the pandemic, many of Bridges’ programs were delivered in-person at their office on Douglas Street in Victoria. They were also serving many local Indigenous communities around the Capital Region, offering in-person training at various locations.
Now, Bridges for Women has had to change gears and has moved their programs to an online delivery model.
The change has introduced a new hurdle though; many of the women they serve do not have access to computers or reliable internet.
In order to continue helping and supporting women with their programs, the society is asking for help. The organization is in desperate need of good, working desktop and laptop computers.
“Many of the women we serve are on limited incomes and do not have access to working computers,” said Valerie St. John, interim executive director of Bridges for Women.
“What’s more, they can no longer access the libraries, cafes and other low-cost resources they typically rely on to bridge this gap. With the help of local businesses and the public, we are finding creative solutions to overcome this barrier and ensure women receive the support they need during these stressful times.”
The society is in need of approximately 40 devices immediately; PC’s, Macs and tablets are all being accepted as long as they are in good working order.
The devices need to be able to video conference and have working cameras and microphones. So far, there have been five computers donated already.
Bridges for Women has partnered with local computer repair businesses to receive, refurbish and redistribute donated computers to women in need.
The group says that its long-term partners, Mac Zen and Teseract 2.0, have been instrumental in helping them overcome this obstacle. Mac Zen is helping out by receiving Apple donations and Teseract 2.0 is managing PC products.
E-Trash To Cash, a local computer and electronics recycling company in Victoria, is also helping out with acquiring the first wave of donated computers.
Liz Reed, community engagement officer for Bridges for Women Society, says there is an immediate need for computers for women in a new program that just launched this week.
“We also have another program coming out in June and we expect there to be a significant need then as well, so we do need a quite a few machines.”
If you have a computer or tablet in good working order that you would like to donate, please contact Liz Reed at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone the Bridges for Women front desk at 250-385-7410.
The society notes that it is taking appropriate precautions to maintain physical distancing and proper sanitation when receiving and processing donations.
To find out more about Bridges for Women Society and what they do, visit their website here.