Oktay Gulum (37) works as a project management support agent at VodafoneZiggo. It is his job to ensure projects are carried out and monitored, daily, so that the entire organization is running smoothly. When he read the internal message, some time ago, that colleagues could register to volunteer at corporate social responsibility projects of VodafoneZiggo during office hours, he didn’t wait another minute. "As a former desk clerk I helped a lot of people finding their way on the internet. That, of course, starts with understanding a smartphone, tablet or computer. I thought I could contribute and registered for the programme Welcome Online, which helps senior citizens to explore and use the online possibilities."
Welcome Online is a teaching programme set up by VodafoneZiggo. Last year, VodafoneZiggo, the National Foundation for the Elderly and Samsung joined forces to familiarize elderly people with the digital society. Volunteers of VodafoneZiggo, Samsung and others that have registered at the Foundation for the Elderly, are matched with a senior citizen that can use some help. Oktay: "I have visited several elderly people and it is very rewarding to be able to help them. Some people I even visited several times. Of course right now, with the corona outbreak, that is not possible."
For that reason the three organizations have set up the Welcome Online telephone helpdesk. All senior citizens can pose their digital questions to this telephone helpdesk for free. Mrs. Hoek (91) was one of the senior citizens that contacted Annemieke by phone. "During one of her Welcome Online visits, Annemieke has already helped me with my tablet. Actually, she has visited me several times, which I really appreciated. That is no longer possible, of course, so we spoke on the phone. I wanted to replay part of a tv programme I had participated in with the National foundation for the Elderly. Guided by her on the phone I managed to find it all by myself. Isn't that just great!", says a beaming Mrs. Hoek. "And I also play a lot of online games, like cards and Rummikub, and I call all my friends. Like my daughter, my cousin in America and the nurse from the homecare services, who all miss me. We are obviously not allowed to visit each other so I’m very glad that I can stay in touch, with some digital help, and keep up-to-date."
Oktay understands all too well that elderly people like Mrs. Hoek want to stay abreast of all the technical developments: "Especially for the elderly the current corona crisis is heavy, as they cannot have any visitors. Enabling them to stay in touch with their loved ones, is very rewarding to do. And sometimes, we just chat about the weather for a bit."
The helpdesk is open on working days from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be reached on 088-344 2000. "Please, do not hesitate to call as my fellow volunteers and me would love to help you", Oktay says by way of conclusion, with a big smile on his face.