The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has forced many charities to drastically alter how they usually operate, and Intouch Global Foundation has spent the last few weeks focusing efforts on how best to support our projects during this pandemic, tailoring relief to meet immediate needs during the worldwide sanctioning of self-isolation.
The first step was to evaluate how each individual organisation has been affected, and to evaluate the needs of those in their communities. Self-isolation has stopped how the majority of our charities provide their normal services, for example, classrooms are no longer in operation, libraries are temporarily closed, and clinics are limited to treating patients in urgent cases only.
The impact of this pandemic will have wide-ranging effects for a long time to come, not only on a health level but also on an economic one. For now, IGF are focusing on addressing immediate needs.
Read below to see the status of some of the organisations we support:
• In Gambia, as with the UK, schools have been temporarily closed. Michael Mende of Switched On-Gambia has identified some 50 of the most vulnerable of families in the region and will deliver food packages which include rice, vegetables, cooking oil, as well as sanitising products. Jan Jan Bureh Nursery is closed, but the IGF will continue the provision of teachers’ salaries.
• The UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) have stopped all field missions and non-essential good entering Kakuma, Kenya, to try and prevent COVID-19 spreading into the camp. Plans for solar lamps and books to be delivered are on hold for now.
• Peru began social quarantining a week earlier than the UK, and have been in complete lockdown since March 15. The region of Cusco where Project Añañau is based have seen normal life come to complete stand still, with strict measures and a curfew in place. Unfortunately, the project has had to close temporarily. Staff and volunteers have issued children with advice about the importance of washing hands, keeping distance, and other important precautions, and are in daily contact with those who possess mobile phones. Ellen and other members of staff are organising relief packages for families who are now without a source of income.
• Renovations on Al-Hamzah School in Taiz, Yemen, have been put on hold as entry into the village has been blocked. Once restrictions are lifted, materials such as cement can be brought in, and building can resume once more.
• In Janakpur, Nepal, The Craniofacial Centre is closed for all routine non-urgent procedures. However, staff are present as the outpatient department remains open to provide limited services for screening, counselling, scheduling of new cleft patients, emergency trauma and office work.
• In Cambodia, Flame classrooms have been closed, and offices are being operated by skeleton staff. The impact of these closures are far-reaching; children who attend lessons at Flame are fed daily and are now without. The focus for now is on providing relief packages made up of 1000kg of rice, and other basic essentials have been organised and distributed to families who have been identified as being most at risk.
• Franche Community Church, based in Kidderminster, is still open and operating, and have seen the numbers of their food deliveries triple as they extend donations to those considered vulnerable, including those who are ill or elderly. Volunteers and drivers continue to practice social distancing and have been provided with gloves and sanitiser.
• Wyre Forest NightStop have been dealing with specific needs via remote means such as making applications, signposting to other agencies, and giving advice and information over the telephone. Support for mental wellbeing is in place through conversation, reassurance and signposting to other resources. The provision of practical support such as help with shopping and collecting medication has also been implemented.
• Living Springs, Stourbridge, has been identified as a key service, so are open and continue to support three families onsite.