Jason Marriott, store leader of Best Buy Courtenay, donated five iPads and other baby equipment such as playpens and monitors to the Upper Island Women of Native Ancestry on behalf of his store and those in Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley. Representing UIWONA is executive director Kat Hawksby (middle) and Deborah Kozlick, program director. Photo by Erin Haluschak

Electronics donation helps women connect to each other and their children

The new technology will be gifted to women in the Nine Moons Prenatal Program

In addition to facilitating virtual connections, a donation organized through a business in the Comox Valley is giving back some control and autonomy for some of the members of the Upper Island Women of Native Ancestry.

On Wednesday, Best Buy Courtenay donated five iPads and a laptop to the organization, which is dedicated to providing resources for families that promote health, happiness and vitality with Indigenous culture as the foundation. The new technology will be gifted to women in the Nine Moons Prenatal Program, which is designed to empower and prepare expecting women on their birthing journeys, explained Deborah Kozlick, program director.

“Because of COVID, the program has been happening online. Some women can’t attend the Zoom sessions because they don’t have access to a computer. It’s assumed you can just find a computer, but that’s not the case for everyone,” she said and added they have women attending the program from Alert Bay to Courtenay.

The Zoom sessions are held in small groups – between four to six women in each group, with up to five sessions per year. Once their baby is born, UIWONA hosts an Indigenous baby honouring ceremony once a year to welcome the child into the community.

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“When you don’t have a computer, it limits just how much you can do at the best of times – outside of a pandemic,” added Kozlick. “The iPads are great for families; they can be used for the programs, but also provide a form of entertainment, and they have cameras as well. They won’t be on loan, but a permanent gift.”

Jason Marriott, store leader of Best Buy Courtenay, along with stores in Nanaimo and Cowichan came together to donate the iPads and other items such as monitors, slings and playpens.

UIWONA has been actively involved in the community since 1991 and has been bringing programs and services to the aboriginal community in the area of early childhood education, cultural awareness and healthy living. UIWONA operates Aboriginal Head Start, The Early Years Program, and Friday’s Child Program.

They are accepting new baby items and computers/iPads, as well as cash donations. For more information, or to make a donation, UIWONA at 250-334-9591 or email info@uiwona.ca.


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