Group of journalists call for phone donation for students

As life moves online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Internet is now even more of a necessity for Indonesians than before. For those of us with reliable internet access, this is no big change, but those coming from impoverished backgrounds aren’t as lucky.

Students lacking internet access who still need to take e-learning classes online have been completely cut off from their education as a result. Recognizing the situation, a group of Jakarta-based journalists has launched a movement calling for phone donations for these students to help them keep up with the e-learning program.

Internet access is still a luxury for impoverished students

indonesia internet penetration rate
Internet penetration rate in Indonesia
Image adapted from DataReportal

Based on a report released by HootSuite, the internet penetration rate in Indonesia stood at 175.4 million people, or 64% of our entire population in January 2020. Even now when basic mobile phones are cheaper than ever, Internet access even via phones is still considered an unattainable luxury for a third of our population.

phone donation coffee shop
Students using free WiFi in a coffee shop in Surabaya
Image credit: @warkoppitulikur

As a result, impoverished communities had to sometimes rely on good Samaritans to overcome this obstacle since the pandemic began. For example, as reported by Kompas, a coffee shop in Surabaya is offering free Wi-Fi and tea for students as long as it’s for e-learning and not for Mobile Legends.

Wartawan Lintas Media came upon this problem when distributing donations to the needy during the pandemic. They saw that a family with 3 kids had to share a single mobile phone for daily use, which prompted them to make a call to action.

Wartawan Lintas Media aims to help struggling students

phone donation
One of the donated phones with a message from the donor
Image credit: @wartawanlintasmedia

The group, formed by journalists from Kompas, CNN Indonesia, and other institutions decided to start a call for phone donations among Indonesians. They’re accepting smartphones of any kind as long as each still function reliably.

However, as the needy still outnumber the number of phone donations, the group had to be selective with the phone distribution. Prospective student recipients had to provide their latest report cards and an essay outlining their situations, to ensure each phone lands where it’s most beneficial.

phone donation kitabisa
Accepting donations through Kitabisa
Image credit: @wartawanlintasmedia

To further help these students, the group has also opened a crowdfunding initiative on Kitabisa. Donations will go to purchasing Internet packages and phone accessories for the phone recipients.

Phone donations are a helping hand for pandemic-affected students

If you have an old Internet-enabled phone sitting idly in your drawer, consider extending a helping hand to those students by donating it to them. What might be a paperweight to you might just be the lifeline to save their education.

For information on how to donate your phone, the group’s contact information is listed here.

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Cover image adapted from @warkoppitulikur and @ghinagaliya

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