March 18, 2020, having heard that the Covid-19 crisis had forced schools in Lithuania to close, and students would be learning remotely from home.
Daina Siliunas, Lina Smilgiene and Indre Tijunelis decided Sunlight Orphan Aid, Saulute, needed to help. They consulted with Romualda Navickaite, director of the Lithuanian Children‘s Foundation in Vilnius, and decided that Sunlight Orphan Aid would purchase computers for those who need them the most, but do not have the means with which to purchase a computer.
Sunlight Orphan Aid had accumulated some donations from the recent Christmas Bazaar at the Lithuanian World Center in Lemont, and from generous donors. It was decided that $15,000 (money not allocated to the Sponsor a Child Program) would be sent to the Lithuanian Children‘s Fund with the intentions of buying 33 computers. Lina Smilgiene quickly contacted her friend Evelina Persuseviciene in Lithuania who was able to find laptops with all the software needed for remote learning and connected the vendor to Romualda Navickaite. The vendor agreed to deliver the computers to the addresses provided by Romualda Navickaite. Within a week 33 families had computers with which their children could continue their studies.
Word spread, and more families were added to the list of those requiring computers.
Sunlight Orphan Aid, Saulute began a Computer Drive, trying to collect money for the remaining families. Ginger Houghton was the first to respond with a generous donation of $12,000, followed by Roger Willas‘ $1,000 and Daina Pakalniskis‘ $500. Donations of lesser amounts began to flow in. Every penny counted! Now there was a new problem. A computer shortage arose in Lithuania. The laptop prices almost doubled. Daina Siliunas contacted her relative, Kestas Dikas, who was able to find 35 more computers at the original price, but they would have to be shipped in from Germany.
In this manner, by May 27, 2020 through the financial aid of Sunlight Orphan Aid, Saulute, and the dedication of Romualda Navickaite and her staff, 68 computers were delivered to families, who‘s dreams of a brighter future rely heavily on the education of their children.
Thank YOU for all your past, present and future support.
15 families remain on the list, and are in need of a laptop. Sunlight Orphan Aid will continue to collect donations for both the Computer Drive as well as their Sponsor A Child program.
Computers were given to families in the following neighborhoods, regions of Lithuanian: Naujosios Ūtos kaimo bendruominė, Ukmergė, Širvintų Dienos Centras, Alytaus Jaunimo Centras, Alytaus Progimnazija, Švenčionių rajonui, Vilniaus rajonui, Mažeikių gimnazijos mokinių šeimoms,Priėnų rajono – Naujosios Ūtos pagrindinė mokykla, Mazeikio Merkelio Račkausko gimnazija, Kazlų Rūdos Vaikų dienų centras, Juodupės gimnazija – Rokiškio rajonas.