Covid 19 Update from our partners

COVID 19 – An Update from Our Partners

How Our Partners are Dealing with the Global Covid 19 Pandemic – 

As the world continues to battle the Covid-19 pandemic the global community is feeling as vulnerable as ever. Many of us are facing various challenges due to the pandemic’s far-reaching implications. At Development Together we think it is important to stay in touch with one another, spread positivity and check in on those you care about; especially during this time of social distancing.

Given our current inability to directly serve our not-for-profit partners in the developing world, we thought we’d get in touch with them to extend our thoughts and let them know we are thinking of them. Our partners were really happy to hear from us and most have provided an update on how they are dealing with the Global Pandemic.

CAMBODIA
Empowering Cambodia

The Cambodian community development organisation, Empowering Cambodia, spent the month of March conducting a series of training sessions in accordance with Cambodian social distancing and public gathering rules and regulations. Their Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) training was adapted to introduce Covid-19 prevention training as a priority.

As the poor seem to be some of the most hard hit during this time with limited access to personal protective wear, Cambodians have been encouraged to wear the traditional Kroma scarf as a form of protection. To ensure the safety and health of local families Empowering Cambodia have also distributed soaps and pictorial brochures to assist in good hygiene practices.

Empowering Cambodia_Covid 19 Education sessionCambodian Wear Kroma as They are Taught Good Health Practices in Small Groups
(Source: Empowering Cambodia Facebook)

CAMBODIA
Stitches of Hope

On a positive note the Cambodian people within the Stitches of Hope Community seem to be in good spirits. The organisation that aims to bring hope and aid to the poor in Cambodia reports that for children being supported in group homes, their teachers, carers and students are continuing with school studies at a reasonable distance from one another, with some even having the opportunity to learn how to cook.

Stitches of Hope_family in isolation Covid 19Learning how to make mango jam and preserves.
(Source: Stitches of Hope Facebook)

The Perth based Director of Stitches of Hope also informs us that she was able to deliver sleeping bags, made by local Cambodian women, for the homeless in Western Australia. Local women in Cambodia are employed to sew sleeping bags, they are then shipped to Australia where each sleeping bag is paid for by a donor and distributed to the homeless. Stitches of Hope are trusting that the generosity of those who are able will keep this program going during these uncertain times.

Stitches of Hope_sleeping bag projectThe Director of Stitches of Hope, Ms Kay Eva, delivering sleeping bags to the homeless in Perth, WA
(Source: Kay Eva Facebook)

CAMBODIA/INDIA/RWANDA
Foxglove Project

Foxglove Project is an Australian charity working to eradicate poverty in the developing world by empowering women and girls to change their own lives. Kelly Chisholm, the founder, has been encouraging her social media audiences to “Support a Woman”. The proceeds raised from this campaign will help support women in India and Rwanda who already have established micro-financing businesses in place.

In Rwanda, fundraising from this appeal will help local woman to come through this period with their homes and micro businesses intact and to utilise their networks via the Self Help groups they are involved with to quickly disseminate health, hygiene and safe family practice training to local women. In India funds will go towards providing families in lock down in the slums with dry food and basic necessities.

Foxglove Project_Covid 19 Fundraising AppealFoxglove Project Covid 19 Fundraising Appeal 
(Source: Foxglove Project Facebook)

CHINA
Shanghai Gold Apple Bilingual School

Our partners in Shanghai, China at the Gold Apple Bilingual School have had a difficult time over the last few months. From early in January they established an Epidemic Prevention and Control Team to protect the students and teachers. Very quickly the Chinese government closed all schools and restricted travel and school pupils had their classes delivered online. For both students and teachers this has been a steep learning curve.

The school has provided students with learning materials and learning suggestions, is conducting mental health counselling, and is encouraging students to engage in appropriate sports and housework, whilst also completing their daily school work. As things begin to return to normal in Shanghai both staff and pupils are looking forward to getting back into their usual school routines once more.

Students Getting Back to Learning
(Source: http://jinpingguo.com.cn/international.aspx)

INDIA
Childlife Preserve Shishur Sevay

India has entered a period of strict lock down. For the staff and residents at Childlife Preserve Shishur Sevay this has meant staying at home at all times, cancelling all extra-curricular activities and a restriction on their teachers coming into the home to work with them. Many of their plans have been brought to a halt, some teachers are giving classes online while non-essential staff work from home where they can. Dr. Harrison and a few other essential staff are currently living with the residents of the organisation and overseeing daily duties and tasks.

Childlife Preserve Shishur Sevai_Covid 19_Working from homeSchool Lesson via WhatsApp for Girls Living with Cerebral Palsy
(Image Courtesy Shisur Sevay March 2020)

The model inclusive home for orphan girls, both abled and with disabilities, share their view on how they are coping during lock down:

“India is on total lock down until 15 April…I am amazed at how the girls have risen to the challenge of this pandemic. They continue to be independent, cheerful, competent, and funny as they take incredible care of themselves and each other.” – Dr. Michelle Harrison
(Founder)

Childlife Preserve Shishur Sevai_Covid 19_Working from home 2Online Communication Session for Girls Living with Cerebral Palsy
(Image Courtesy Shisur Sevay March 2020)

Although they face their own challenges, the organisation has shown selfless love and care for others with their recent decision to donate half of their food budget to feed the poor.

“ Our girls’ origins are among the extremely underprivileged. We taught them that these were the foundations on which to gain strength and grow. Today they asked how we can help the poor and hungry during lock down. We all decided to cut our food budget while still staying healthy. The money saved goes to a program feeding the hungry.” – Dr. Michelle Harrison

 

INDONESIA
Bali Appropriate Technology Institute

Despite the Corona virus disruptions in the country our partner organisation, Bali Appropriate Technology Institute in Indonesia are continuing their sustainable engineering projects via video chat with the Director Mr Rus Alit who is currently based in Perth Australia. Rus shares his thoughts on their current situation:

“The project to build a water tank in the village of Kendampal in Datah continues. A 20,000 litre water tank is in the making. Under BATI’s direction by video call, the water tank is well underway toward completion.” – Rus Alit

An update from BATI regarding the water filter’s that our Engineering interns helped to design and construct in January 2020 was provided and it was found that they are functioning well and much appreciated by the locals. With the ability to store and provide clean water, the village is able to utilise the water filter’s to sustain a basic standard of hygiene during this tough time. BATI staff look forward to when they’ll be able to visit the site to conduct further work in the area.

 

BATI Working on Underground Water Tank in Datah Village
(Image Courtesy Rus Alit March 2020)

UGANDA
Seeds of Hope Integrated Ministries

On January 28th the Mother Care Academy, a brand new Junior school in Busia Uganda, was opened by our partners Seeds of Hope Integrated Ministries, Uganda (SHIMU). The students were only just beginning to adjust to a normal schooling routine and enjoying being able to attend a school that was conducted indoors, with tables and some stationery supplies available to them. As the impact of Covid 19 heightens in Uganda these students have now all been asked to stay at home and their lessons have been discontinued. Very few families have access to the internet or even own a computer so the idea of online class delivery will not be happening. Most children will not be receiving any schooling during this stage and will be helping their parents in the fields to make ends meet.

Given the current circumstances SHIMU still continues to give a voice to the hopeless urging those to support the vulnerable during this difficult time.

“A lot is still needed at this new school ranging from cementing the floors of the classrooms, buying chairs and tables for teachers, buying ridges for the roofs, fencing the school to buying uniforms for children. We can’t give up on supporting these vulnerable.” – SHIMU

In addition to this the impact of the pandemic on SHIM is immense as 65% of the organisation’s income source from selling vegetables, bananas and pigs has been slashed due to market shutdowns in the area. This is especially devastating on the work they do, as their farm income was used to fund their new school, run Micro-Economic Development Activities, and conduct Sexual Health and Reproduction Education for local villagers.

As the virus reaches into rural Uganda prices for basic goods, sanitary items and building materials have risen rapidly. This poses a risk to the livelihoods of many living in the area as food and essential items become harder to obtain. In SHIM’s most recent Facebook post the organisation expresses their commitment to sustaining their children and staff’s basic needs for as long as possible.

“We’re committed to keeping the children fed, and safe. We are also at pains to keep supporting our incredible SHIM UGANDA workforce – nearly 10 teachers, 5 project managers and other support staff. With no safety net for them, we are fighting to secure their futures, as well as the welfare of our kids.” – SHIMU

Seeds of Hope Integrated Ministries Uganda_Mothercare SchoolMother of Care Academy Students on the 4th day of Term 1
(Image Courtesy SHIMU January 31st 2020)

UKRAINE
Dzherelo Rehabilitation Centre

Our partners at the Dzherelo Rehabilitation Centre in Lviv Ukraine are being especially vigilant about preventing the spread of Covid 19. Many of the children and adults who utilise this facility are at high risk of becoming critically ill if they catch this disease due to their physical disabilities.

Under the direction of the local government, the centre will remain closed until April 24th, so staff have been providing tips and advice via their social media channels to local families looking after their children at home. Tips include advice on Covid 19 symptoms, along with advice on regular hand washing, disinfecting surfaces and spending time outside to get fresh air.

Dzherelo Rehabilitation Centre_Covid 19 PosterCovid 19 Symptoms Poster
(Source: Dzherelo Facebook)

Staff from Dzherelo have also been encouraging families of clients to seek out alternate ways to communicate with their loved ones whilst under lock down at home. Families have been encouraged to help their child at home by accessing specific therapy websites, online stories, reading together, looking at photos together and reinforcing positive behaviors. In this way, families are now able to assist in the delivery of therapy sessions which are being conducted on-line if the family has a computer and internet access at home.

Dzherelo Rehabilitation Centre_Communication ToolsAlternate Communication Tools
(Source: wwwpecs.in.ua)

VIETNAM
Centre for Sustainable Development Studies

The Vietnamese government has enforced very strict restrictions to control the spread of Covid 19 which have led to the suspension of all of the Centre for Sustainable Development Studies activities. The staff at CSDS are working hard in the office and at home to take the time to prepare for further activities when the work is back to normal. One area they are working on is through their social media posts aimed at encouraging local people to hand wash.

Centre for Sustainable Development Studies_Covid 19 Handwashing PosterCSDS Hand Washing Poster
(Source: CSDS VN Facebook)

They have also been conducting a survey on the impact and needs of children and teens affected by Covid 19 with the survey results being used to inform the Government and UN agencies on how to best support children and teens during this time. Hopefully with this understanding CSDS will be able to create effective activities in the future that enhance children and teens outcomes.

Centre for Sustainable Development Studies_Working from HomeCSDS Staff working on activities from home
(Source: CSDS VN Facebook)

How You Can Get Involved

We hope that you have enjoyed catching up on the latest news from our partners. At this stage we are planning to run our end of year placements, but of course we will continue to be guided by advice from the WHO, CDC, DAFT and the Australian Government and we will closely follow their lead on the safety of overseas travel to the regions we operate in. We can’t wait to return to our partner sites and look forward to being able to work with our participants soon!

If you’d like to get in touch with, or support the initiatives of any of our partners mentioned in our blog, follow the links listed below:

Bali Appropriate Technology Institute:
Facebook – www.facebook.com/BATI-Bali-Appropriate-Technology-Institute
Website – n/a

Centre for Sustainable Development Studies
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/CSDS.VN/
Website – n/a

Childlife Preserve Shishur Sevay
Facebook – www.facebook.com/ShishurSevay
Website – https://www.shishursevay.org

Dzherelo Rehabilitation Centre
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Dzherelo/
Website – https://dzherelocentre.org.ua/en/

Empowering Cambodia
Facebook – www.facebook.com/EmpoweringCambodia
Website – www.empoweringcambodia.org

Foxglove Project
Facebook – www.facebook.com/FoxgloveProject
Website – www.foxgloveproject.com
DONATE TO: COVID-19 Rwanda Appeal http://grassroots-rwanda-gdg-j778.raisely.com/covid19-rwanda-appeal
DONATE TO: COVID-19 Chennai Appeal https://birdsnest365-gdg-j925n.raisely.com/covid19-chennai-appeal

Shanghai Gold Apple Bilingual School
Facebook – n/a
Website – http://www.jinpingguo.com.cn/

Seeds of Hope Integrated Ministries Uganda
Facebook – www.facebook.com/shimuganda
Website – n/a

Stitches of Hope
Facebook – www.facebook.com/stitchesofhope
Website – www.stitchesofhope.org.au
DONATE TO: Sleeping Bag Project – https://startsomegood.com/rotary-sleeping-bag-project

 

If you would like to get involved in one of our projects in the developing world check out our website at: https://developmenttogether.com or https://developmenttogether.com/contact/

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