Mehari first started attending the West End Centre in November 2018 just after he came to the UK. His English wasn’t so good, but he quickly became an important member of the allotment team, volunteering his time to support the project. He threw himself into centre activities - including being taught to knit by Razina! and making wreaths for Christmas. After building his confidence and improving his English Mehari was accepted on a on a course at Bradford College where he was doing really well, until Covid hit, the college closed and he couldn't access his studies online.
Mehari received a Tablet and data as part of the Devices.now scheme, this is a scheme that allows people who have no internet to be able to access it via donated tablets and data. We interviewed Mehari to find out what a difference being able to get Online has made to his wellbeing during lockdown.
1.Did you use the internet before lockdown?
I just used it at the West End Centre and sometimes the college computers.
2. What did you use the internet for?
Mainly To do my College work, and using Google to see the news.
3.Did you have access to the internet at home?
No, and when the West End Centre and the College closed because of the virus I couldn’t do my college work. I can now with my tablet and data I was given from the centre through devices.now
4. What new things have you used the internet to do during lockdown?
I now use whatsApp to keep in touch with my friends and the West End Centre, and I can use messages, video and voice call . It is really good for me because I am not alone. I use my tablet to watch sky news every day. I have learnt how to use Zoom and I use it for bible studies with my friends from Church. I send and receive emails for my college tutor with information on my course. I did an online maths exam through college and do my college course using an online portal. I use google to look at government site for covid news. So lots of things!
5. How has this made a difference to how you have managed during lockdown?
Having the tablet and data means I have been able to continue with my college course and pass my maths exam! I have been able to continue with my bible studies and stay in contact with my friends. The communication is so important. Watching the sky news is helping me with my English also. I feel like I am getting better and understand more. I have more confidence. I have the help of the people at the centre - if I need it I can ring them now.
6. What would you say to encourage people to get online?
You can communicate with people even if you cannot see them, it is so important please get online if you can. It has changed my life a lot.