A young Letterkenny nurse has found strength and motivation during the Covid-19 crisis with the launch of a special charity project.
Aldrin Licayan, aged 27, is a full-time theatre nurse at Letterkenny University Hospital. In recent months, he has been working on a goodwill initiative for children in his home country in the Philippines.
Aldrin and his friends are collecting and donating funds to buy tablets for Filipino children to continue with education from home. As the Philippines deals with its worst curve of Covid-19 cases yet, schoolchildren have been told to stay at home. But many impoverished families cannot access online lessons without learning tablets.
Aldrin took it upon himself to help some children in need by fundraising to buy the technology to keep them in education. So far, he has sent 20 tablets to children in rural provinces, who are exceptionally grateful for the kindness they have received.
The fundraiser has helped Aldrin keep his spirits up during the challenging Covid-19 pandemic.
He told Donegal Daily: “It started in May when we were fighting Covid. I was working full-time and when I go home I feel exhausted and alone. I spend my time online, and I had been receiving a lot of messages on Instagram because there are kids and parents that can’t afford tablets.”
The messages struck a chord with Aldrin. He was brought up by his grandmother, who sadly passed last April.
“I’m facing a battle myself, but I was struck by it and remembered my childhood. I didn’t have my mom or my dad, it was tough. But I was able to finish college and I was able to come to Ireland.”
Aldrin moved to Donegal in 2017 and, while Letterkenny was a major change from the busy city of Manila, he found good friendship among his colleagues in the hospital.
“The people here are the best, most hospitable, kindest and very friendly,” he said.
Aldrin had been keeping his charity campaign a secret from staff in LUH, as he felt there were enough fundraisers going on. That all changed when he made the headlines in the Philippines’ largest newspaper and his tablet project was shared worldwide.
“I did not want to bother people with the fundraising campaign. Now my colleagues are coming to me and wanting to help and my heart is so full and overwhelmed. I really want to continue with this now and I hope more people will be inspired to help, it will give them purpose and hope,” he said.
“When people are helping they can find a purpose in their heart, it can change lives, any amount will do.”
Aldrin has plans to send at least six more tablets to the Phillippines. He will also host more fundraisers around his 28th birthday next week.
Donations are prioritised to help the ‘poorest of the poor’ and all gifted goods are sent direct. Local telecoms companies are providing sim cards with free data for schoolchildren, so once they receive a device they can start accessing lessons.
The campaign has already gathered support from all over the world – thanks to Aldrin’s online connections. In his spare time, he is a content creator and shares videos and live streams with the Filipino community worldwide. His fans have been eager to support the fund.
Every donation is a cause for celebration, Aldrin says.
“Yesterday when I got off from working 12 hours, I was tired, but I was walking to the car park and I got the notification that somebody donated 100 euro and that made my day. All the stress and the exhaustion were all gone because of this,” he said.
Working during the Covid-19 crisis hasn’t been easy, Aldrin said, but he aims to keep a positive outlook on it all.
“To be honest I got depressed. I need to be grateful that I am working and helping people and gratitude really changes the heart of people. It was really tough wearing this mask, having anxiety every day that you can get the disease but we can do this. We can fight this pandemic.”Tags: