HOW COVID-19 AFFECTS OUR PARTNER PROJECTS...
How the coronavirus is affecting our partnered projects: “Digital help” in Germany and food shortages in a village in the Philippines
All over the world, governments are putting into practice new measures and restrictions in order to slow the transmission of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). The pandemic has changed things for all of us, whether in our working day or private lives. The changes and restrictions especially affect our partnered organisations and in particular the people that they aim to support. Border closures, local lockdowns, difficulty with access to the health system in the different countries or access to food, not being able to work – all of these raise insecurities and, in addition to the coronavirus, can put the lives of the poorest in danger.
“Von Herz zu Herz” takes action to supply a village in the Philippines with rice
Like here in Europe, the Philippines have stopped travel to their country, have closed schools and shopping malls and have implemented lockdowns and even more restrictive quarantine measures in some communities. This also affects the area where our partner organization “Von Herz to Herz” is active on the island Samar. After some positive cases in the provincial capital Catbalogan in March, roads as well as shops, banks and markets were closed overnight. The village Lucerdoni found its only access road closed – only those with an ID can pass, which not everyone in the village owns. This especially affects the poorest residents, who also cannot carry on their jobs at the moment and are missing enough food to survive on.
This is why one of “Von Herz zu Herz”’s trusted helpers, Ed, got in touch with the organization. His aim: to bring a lorry with rice and tinned sardines to the village. It took him several days and, tries and phone calls – but he finally made it. Together with his driver, he was finally allowed to drive to the village with the important food supplies. On 25th March, 200 families in Lucerdoni received rice and sardines or pasta, in order to ensure their survival. Because he wanted to also help out the rest of the families in the village – and thanks to donations “Von Herz zu Herz” received from German donors, including Charity Cat – Ed went on a second trip on 2nd April. Together with two helpers, he drove all the way to Calbayog, two hours from Lucerdoni. On his way, he encountered several check points with obligatory fever checks and special protective clothing, and he had to get official permission from Catbalogan’s mayor, since there, rice is only portioned out to residents. “This is why our brave hero Ed had to look far away for the vitally important rice and answer many questions there, too,” writes Bärbel Rahideh, founder of “Von Herz zu Herz”. As an additional hurdle for locals, rice prices have gone up. Instead of 36 Pesos for the cheapest product, which is now sold out, a kilo of rice is now 40 Pesos. Following the rice supply for the villagers, “Von Herz zu Herz” is now also planning to provide a bag of rice to the families of their 25 sponsored children as well as their local workers.
“Digital help“ instead of personal relationship building at children’s home in Berlin
Our partner organisation “Straßenkinder e.V.“ also writes, that they are facing huge challenges in their projects for street kids, poor children and children who have fled from other countries. For example, the workers have to keep physical distance from the street children, the children may only enter the organisation’s two help points one by one or make use of the washing machines, pick up food or wait for the shower one by one. After just one week of the restrictions put in place by the government to restrict the spread of the pandemic, the workers noticed that the numbers of kids living on the streets had already increased.
Similarly, the workers at the organisation’s shelter for children and young people, BOLLE, have to find creative solutions for their work. In order to support the 120 kids and young people that they help to take care of, they have established WhatsApp groups, are offering daily challenges via their website bolle-kids.de and are offering services like help with homework online, emergency assistance for families, a phone hotline and help with grocery shopping. “It’s a big challenge for our team to switch from personal relationship building with the children to an almost completely digital service,” Straßenkinder e.V. say on their website (Link: https://strassenkinder-ev.de).
Sozialtreff Erlangen e.V. – no food counter, no help in person possible
Just like for these two examples, the situation has changed for most of our projects, for our fundraising and for the charity work of our members. For example, our helpers cannot support Sozialtreff Erlangen’s food bank at the moment, since it is temporarily closed. Here, we are also looking for creative solutions to keep offering help to those who need it.
The current situation probably won’t change for the forseeable future. This means it is especially important to us, to keep (being able to) support our partnered organisations. Please do take this opportunity to make a donation – it’s up to you if you’d like it to be used for one particular project or for all of our charitable work – we are very grateful for your support! You can find our bank details at the bottom of the website. Thank you!