Science-based technology company 3M has joined with non-profit organisation United Way Worldwide to support relief projects across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) that are helping the most vulnerable people in society impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

Romania is one of twelve countries across EMEA receiving a share of a 3M grant totalling 1.875.000 USD / 7.790.812 ron, which is being directed to projects supporting nutrition, mental and physical health, education and COVID-19 awareness, according to the most pressing local needs and country status of the pandemic.

United Way Romania is working with 3M Romania to implement Covid-19 crisis: children need access to technology for online education project – which aims to increase the chances of disadvantaged children to have access to digital materials and to participate in online courses, by offering them equipment.

The project addresses a number of 230 children living in vulnerable communities in Bucharest, Cluj and Timisoara, without access to online education or technological tools, who had limited contact with educational programs during the crisis. Through this program, children receive tablets, internet access and the tools needed to continue their online education during these difficult times.

The program also intends to digitally literate the parents of these children and increase the teachers’ digital skills, where needed. Because many parents have lost their jobs, through the program implemented by United Way Romania, with the support of 3M, their children and families will benefit from social and psychological counseling and material support – food and personal care products. Parents will also receive material and emotional support, to help their children in the digital education process.

Supporting teachers is just as important for them to adapt to the new conditions required by digital education: the program will help them use all available tools and strengthen their ability to keep children involved in educational activities. The lack of decent living conditions determines, in the case of students, the decrease of concentration in school activities.

It’s important that 3M holds true to its core values during this pandemic by supporting our communities and improving lives” said Nicoleta-Aurora Mocanu, Country Leader/Finance Manager 3M Romania. “The projects with United Way form part of a $20 million commitment made by 3M at a corporate level to support COVID-19 relief projects globally, and we’re grateful that some of this funding is preventing the deprived children in Romania to drop out from school during these exceptional times”.

United Way Worldwide has been helping communities in need for more than 130 years, but the scale of the COVID-19 crisis and its far-reaching impact on people’s health, social mobility, income and job security – factors that are essential to wellbeing – has posed new challenges.

Because of schools’ closure and material shortages caused by the pandemic, the vulnerable children are now even more at risk of dropping out of school. The support from 3M helps us give these children access to technology and give them a chance to education and a better future“, says Adriana Dobrea, Executive Director of United Way Romania. “Together, we can make a real difference in people’s lives, as we go through the pandemic.”

Photos: Alex Damian