20 May IMPACT OF COVID 19: STORIES FROM THE FIELD- PART ONE
Many of our children’s homes that we partner with are still under quarantine and are feeling the harrowing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to you, we have been able to respond to various emergencies that have arisen, ensuring our partner homes have what they need to safely shelter in place.
In Kenya, our partner homes faced major food shortages as the cost of food and commodities spiked significantly. These inflations have made it near impossible to feed the hundreds of children in their care. Archadius, who is the Assistant Director at Victorious Children’s Home recently shared his concerns about their dangerously low stockpiles. We shared these needs with our faithful SOW family via social media. You responded swiftly, and through your generous support, we were able to send additional funds to Victorious to increase their stockpiles to get them through these unprecedented times. We are also continuing to send funds to our other partner projects in Kenya, including Wings of Compassion, Agape Hope and Oasis of Hope.
Our partner homes in DR Congo are still facing many challenges. In addition to COVID-19, new cases of Ebola and Malaria have emerged in the area. Knowing their health systems could not bear the burden of additional cases of COVID-19, sheltering in place remains a vital precaution for the orphanage staff and children. These restrictions, though necessary, have made medical access increasingly difficult. Unfortunately, this raises additional concerns that diseases such as Malaria could become detrimental if not treated.
Last month, the city Uvira in DR Congo experienced catastrophic floods that destroyed many lives and homes, leaving thousands of people homeless and in dire need. Our partner home, Open Spring Orphanage took a leap of faith and delivered what they could to children and families who were deeply impacted by these floods. In addition to their part in these relief efforts, Open Spring continues to love and care for all the children in their residential program. Without our family of supporters, we could not continue to provide the ongoing support necessary to raise these precious lives in their care.
Children at Saint Therese in DR Congo were experiencing illness because their water source became flooded and needed repairs. Your generosity allowed us to completely replace their water supply, giving them clean water on site during the lockdown. Of course, we were filled with joy to hear that since we replaced this water source, the children are in good health and there have been zero reports of water-borne illnesses.
In Liberia, Phebe Grey Memorial Orphanage is also under lockdown. The only people allowed to remain in the home are the children, the house parents and the security staff. All other staff, including the cooks are unable to access the home. Therefore, the older teens are currently helping the house parents with the cooking and cleaning duties. Even the director and administrator have limited access and have had to adjust their roles. They are now primarily going to the bank and the markets, and delivering supplies to the home. Thanks to you, SOW has been able to continue to send monthly support that they can rely on during this time of uncertainty.
In Ukraine, the cases of COVID-19 are growing everyday. Our partner homes have expressed concerns for the children, especially those who are immune compromised. As part of the Ukrainian response to the pandemic, all orphanages are mandated to go on complete lockdown. For our partner homes in Ukraine, this means cutting staff to a skeleton crew, living with the children around the clock, and not allowing any visitations until the end of quarantine. Despite the spike in food prices in Ukraine, the children at Pilgrim Republic Safe House and Rehab Center have plenty of nutritious food to eat as they are enjoying a good harvest this year from their subsidiary farm.
In Vietnam, the staff and children at Center of Hope are also on lockdown. The children at Center of Hope are doing well because of the faithfulness of our SOW family. This past year, your support has given Center of Hope the ability to grow their own crops and care for farm animals on their property. As a result, all the children and staff have access to vegetables and protein during this lockdown. In addition to providing nutritious food for the children, the garden and farm have been a wonderful resource to teach the older teens new skills in agriculture. These valuable skills can help them find a job or supplement their income in the future.
Many of the care takers have become homeschool teachers overnight. This means in addition to their many responsibilities, they have had to carve out time to create lesson plans according to skill and grade level. In some cases, they have had to provide education for over a hundred children. Staff have been working diligently to keep the children healthy and entertained during these times. Thankfully, many of our partner homes such as City of Hope in Sri Lanka, Sails of Hope in Ukraine, and Casa Shalom in Guatemala have large, spacious properties for the children to safely roam and play.
We could never fully express how thankful we are to our family of supporters. Because of you, we are able to continue to give these homes some certainty through these uncertain times.