Dubbo's Amy and Nathan Cubby put their heads together during 14 days of self-isolation in a bid to help students struggling to stay connected to their schools, friends and families during lockdowns in remote parts of Western NSW.
The long-serving and loyal employees of Uniting NSW.ACT and Essential Energy, respectively, hit on a plan to support teenagers without technology.
Their employers quickly got on board with 150 refurbished iPads set to be distributed in the coming week to secondary school students.
Essential Energy has provided the iPads and purchased chargers and cords to go with them.
In collaboration with the NSW Department of Education, Uniting has reached out to schools in 10 communities including Wellington, Brewarrina and Cowra to identify those most in need of the devices.
Aboriginal community support organisation Kari and Dubbo Opportunity Hub have donated SIM cards and internet credit.
Mrs Cubby is the program manager of Uniting Referral Services in Western NSW.
A call from a Bourke resident prompted the busy working mother to share with husband Nathan her hopes of helping students stay in touch and engage in online learning.
"He said to me 'I wonder what Essential Energy are doing with the iPads we've all just handed back in'," Mrs Cubby said.
"He just went down the backyard and called his boss.
"Within three hours, we got a call back saying the executive would love to help.
"I love Uniting and Nathan loves Essential Energy.
"To be able to bring them together to help these kids is amazing."
Essential Energy's chief information officer Sarah McCullough said it was "grateful to have the opportunity to donate these iPads".
"It's really important to us to support the communities we live and work in and hope that this donation is a step in the right direction for all children to have the technology they need to maintain connection with their families and continue their educational journey," she said.
Uniting's Western NSW head of operations Pam Wells said it was vital to "maintain engagement with remote communities during this difficult time".
"Our community has been really struggling to stay connected not just to school services but to their family members," she said.
"We've heard stories of families who have been separated through isolation, hospitalisation and illness and this donation is going to help support children and families and keep them connected."
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