From mid-March 2020 on, Compassion child development centres all over the world temporarily shut their doors. While activities at the centres stopped, Compassion’s church partners have never been far from the children they serve. With the World Bank reporting that global poverty will rise for the first time since 1998 due to Covid-19, supporting vulnerable children is more important than ever. Through phone calls, text messages, and socially distanced visits, our partners continue to provide life-changing support at a time when children need it most.

“We remain at their side. Our workers continue to volunteer to distribute food and essentials to the children in their community,” said Reynesto Garcia, a Compassion centre director. “It is our call of duty.”

Between April to June 2020, these church partners have distributed millions of food parcels and hygiene kits, delivered hundreds of thousands of cash transfers and given medical assistance. Find out how your support is making a difference.


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As parents lose their income due to the pandemic, food is an urgent need. The World Food Programme (WFP) reports that the Covid-19 pandemic could almost double the number of people suffering acute hunger, pushing it to more than a quarter of a billion by the end of 2020.

“Covid-19 is potentially catastrophic for millions who are already hanging by a thread,” said WFP’s Chief Economist Arif Husain. “It is a hammer blow for millions more who can only eat if they earn a wage.” In almost every country Compassion works in, church partners are delivering food packages filled with essentials to desperate families.

In the Peruvian jungle, 14-year-old Nicol and her cousins jumped for joy when they saw someone walking towards their house carrying a bag. “I think our sponsors are sending us groceries again,” Nicol cried. “We just ran out of the food we had.” Since her parents lost their jobs because of the pandemic, they have been unable to send money back to Nicol’s grandmother, who cares for the children. “It broke my heart to hear my grandkids cry because they were too hungry,” she said in a broken voice. “God never forgets us and I’m forever grateful to the project, the pastor and the sponsors. May the Lord guide you and bless you all. I have something to feed my grandkids now. Thank you for giving us our daily bread.”

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With vulnerable families struggling to buy food, a face mask, hand sanitiser, or disinfectant become luxuries they cannot afford. In regions where water scarcity makes frequent handwashing difficult, hand sanitiser is even more important.

In Uganda, a small bottle of hand sanitiser can retail for almost $5—more than double what some struggling families earn in a single day. With numerous parents out of work due to the pandemic, one of the child development centres came up with an initiative that addressed both challenges. Fathers who had lost their jobs were trained to manufacture hand sanitiser, which was then distributed to vulnerable children and families.  Father of two, Joseph, said the training has given him hope during a difficult time. “Before Covid-19, there was poor hygiene, there was no sanitation, but when I learned the skill, I was able to make sanitiser and my family was able to wash their hands. This has improved the state and standard of sanitation in my family,” he says. Staff identified four of the fathers, including Joseph, to receive further support to kick-start their own sanitiser business. "I would like to thank the project for the support given to me during this time of Covid-19,” he says. “I thank God for that.”

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There is no health insurance or safety net when you live in poverty. Medical emergencies plunge struggling children into life and death situations—that’s in ordinary times, without the added desperation of a global pandemic.

As medical crises continue, Compassion’s church partners continue to respond, bringing hope and relief to the hurting. In Togo, nine-year-old Wisdom was diagnosed with life-threatening malaria that left him screaming in pain and struggling to eat or speak. His parents had lost their jobs due to the pandemic and had no way to pay for the treatment their son needed. “Compassion saved us,” said Wisdom. “If Compassion was not there and if I was not enrolled in the programme, I would have died of this disease. Compassion gave me my life back because they did not want me to die.”


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In places where it is challenging to deliver essential aid in-person to struggling families due to distance or government policies, Compassion’s church partners in the Dominican Republic, Ghana and Kenya adapted by transferring cash to them electronically.

When the Kenyan government banned the direct distribution of food, staff used a popular mobile money transfer system to send cash to those who needed it most. “Having families decide how to spend the money dignifies them,” says Joel, Compassion Kenya’s National Director. “It provides them with a choice ... it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.” Father-of-four Peter has been out of work since the hotel where he worked was closed due to the pandemic. “Before Covid-19, I’d say we were jostling to get by. But right now, we’re are the ones being jostled by this situation.” To his immense relief, his family was one of the thousands who received a mobile cash transfer. His seven-year-old son Livingstone’s grin, says it all.

 

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