THE Gaoth Dobhair Men’s Shed is collecting donations to buy coronavirus vaccines for people in countries that cannot afford them.
The ‘Give the World a Shot’ campaign – set up by An Scioból in conjunction with UNICEF – aims to help low and middle-income countries access vaccines against Covid-19.
The fundraising campaign, which is being supported all the businesses and shops in the Gaoth Dobhair area, started on Tuesday and will run throughout the month of June.
“We are trying to do what little we can to help fund vaccines for the less fortunate,” Mr Dara Ó Baoill explained.
It is hoped that other Men’s Sheds across Donegal will follow Gaoth Dobhair’s lead and, ultimately, that the campaign will be taken up be Irish Men’s Sheds Association.
“We’re lucky to get our vaccine rolled out here but many other countries are less fortunate and can’t afford the vaccination programme. If one country isn’t safe then the whole world isn’t safe. Everybody needs to be vaccinated,” Mr Ó Baoill said.
“Collection buckets have been placed in business premises throughout the parish and, hopefully, this is something that will gain momentum over the coming weeks.
“The pandemic hit the world hard but, with vaccines rolling out, we’re beginning to win the fight against Covid-19. UNICEF have set a target to deliver 2 billion vaccines, as well as millions of treatments around the world this year.
“Most of our members would be more mature in age and they were very aware of the importance of the vaccine when it came along. Some were worried about underlying health conditions and it’s great that they now have all been vaccinated,” Mr Ó Baoill said.
CARDS, FIXING THINGS AND DAYS IN THE BOG
An Scioból was setup in 2015 and it has always been a forward thinking an innovative body.
Indeed, their AGM was organised on Zoom earlier this year ensuring that An Scioból became the first Men’s Shed in the country to do their business online.
Another invaluable tool throughout the pandemic was training for members on the use of Zoom, Messenger and WhatsApp
“With the valued support of the Donegal Local Development CLG (DLDC) An Scioból members who weren’t used to using mobile phones or social media were given training during lockdown. Laptop training is happening now.
“It’s allowed members to keep in contact with one another and with their families. We’ve moved into the new world and we’re now organising Zoom meetings with Men’s Shed groups in Australia, Britain and the US.
“Traditionally, the men would have gathered in the shed to play cards, for bowling or to do woodwork and repair stuff but we’re no longer able to do that,” he said.
Over the past 15 months, An Scioból members have come together online to play cards or for a chat.
“Technology has allowed us all to stay in touch. I’m still relatively young but I’m constantly amazed to see how well some of the older men are able to navigate their way around WhatsApp or Messenger,” he said.
Two weeks ago, a group came together to help one man with his turf and they’re expecting another message to pop into their inbox in the coming days asking them to spend another few hours in the bog.
“Five of us came together last Saturday week to help one of the lads with his turf. It was all organised through the phone.
It’s all part of the meitheal – the spirit of the Shed – if one person needs a hand we all come together.
“I’m expecting another message to ask for our help in footing the turf shortly,” he laughed.
“On a more serious note though if one man was at it alone it would take him a couple of days. With five or six or us there not only is the work done quicker it’s good fun,” he said.
“We’re really looking forward to the reopening of An Scioból as soon as it is allowed. Anyone interested in joining can find us on facebook by searching for An Scioból,” he added.