Richmond natives start fundraiser for students without internet access during pandemic

Positively Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – A group of Longwood University graduates is helping students get internet access during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Richmond based crew took their efforts all the way to Chicago.

“We want everybody to understand – there is a positive side to life,” Daishan Johnson told 8News. “Some people need more help than others, and that’s what we want to do.”

The longtime friends and Richmond natives, Johnson, Bharani Sankar, Wil Miles and Conner Niver decided to start a fundraiser using a clothing line Sankar had made years prior. The money raised would buy Wifi hot spots for students struggling to get reliable internet access.

“We always talk everyday being close friends,” Sankar said. “The pandemic is happening. Kids are being displaced without internet in low income communities and we wanted to do something.”

Sankar, who currently resides in Chicago, says he saw the need when he reached out to teachers in his neighborhood.

“They were actually printing paper sheets out for homework assignments, and dropping them to students’ homes everyday.”

In their first launch, the team raised about $800 to buy four hot spots and donated them to families in need. They now want to focus their efforts to Central Virginia.

A ‘thank you’ email from a Chicago teacher to Sankar after the hotspot donation.

“With these guys being from here, and I’m from here originally as well, I think we want to make sure we give back to the community that kind of brought us up – that we grew up in,” Sankar told 8News.

“We’re still actively looking for any educators that may have students that are struggling with the pace of E-learning and we are happy to help out.”

You can email the team here.

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