It is undeniable that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been dramatic on the elderly strata of the population, particularly vulnerable and exposed to threats, who have also been forced to isolate as a precaution measure in the prevention of contagious disease spreading.
Consequently, the project ICT Skills 4 All has also been obliged to face the difficulties of implementing a work plan under the severe - yet necessary! - restrictions adopted in Member States, following the recommendations shared by a pool of public health experts, which have inevitably affected and modified daily habits and personal relationships.
The new lifestyle that we are still learning to embrace has also had a strong impact on our ability to conduct the face-to-face activities previously foreseen in the project, especially in order to protect the elderly and ensure their minimum exposure to health risks. Live training sessions have been replaced with virtual and distance learning experiences, with a subsequent disengagement of the target groups who are either not independent in the use of basic tools (computers, programmes, emails) or who have been completely isolated (secluded in their houses with no internet connection and thus with no access to online teaching resources).
Despite the constraints and limitations encountered on our way, we feel it is also our responsibility to tackle these challenges and try to fill the gap between educators and our vulnerable target groups, in order to combat the isolation and loneliness which the elderly population is currently facing while adhering to the official health recommendations.
In this perspective, ICT Skills 4 All aims to reach out to the elderly and provide support by also involving family members who could restore the initial engagement and contribute in supporting their dear ones in this cumbersome learning process. We are also determined to overcome the difficulties and weariness brought upon by severe health threats by accepting such limitations with resilience, reacting to such difficulties with renewed energy, and offering an alternative learning path which takes into consideration the current scenario worldwide. We wish to contribute to our original mission with dedication, compassion and a resilience built on solidarity and understanding of our elderly target groups, also building on the human tissue which has made these uncertain times less somber.
We all invite our partners and networks to make a bigger effort to share the online tools and foster citizen engagement and social inclusion with an action that is one of its kind. ICT Skills 4 All is ready with a renewed engagement and dedication, to respond and to embrace the challenges of today with the hope of creating a better tomorrow.
Please check our project website @ https://up.pt/ictskills4alleu/en/welcome-ictskills4all
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