Soap or food — which would you choose?
For Ruth, who lives with her two children, parents and several other family members in a leaky cardboard-and-metal-sheet house in Nairobi, Kenya’s Mukuru slum, there’s no question.
“If you buy soap, you won’t eat,” she says.
Right now, with the world on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the reality for millions of families living in the world’s poorest places. In low-income countries, as many as 80% of the population — 2 billion worldwide — make their living from informal work like subsistence farming, selling vegetables or trinkets at the market or odd jobs like unloading trucks, washing windows, doing construction work, cleaning, whatever they can find. No one is finding much work at all these days, and that’s the problem.
COVID-19 is a health crisis that’s creating an economic crisis that’s leading to further health crises — especially for children and families living in fragile economies like those in ChildFund’s program countries. One particularly devastating result of these crises is child hunger. Compound that with added stress from crowded conditions, helplessness and fear, and you have a recipe for violence against children. Children are in danger, and there’s no time to lose.
“ChildFund is aiming the full power of our expertise and funding at ensuring that COVID-19 does not deny any child the right to be healthy, educated and safe,” says Anne Lynam Goddard, ChildFund’s President and CEO.
And “full power” is no exaggeration. Our $56 million COVID-19 Response Plan is our biggest emergency response in our 80-year history. It’s also our first-ever global emergency response, aiming to support 6.3 million children and family members throughout the pandemic and the recovery to follow.
The initiative focuses on four priorities:
“Families are at the center of this plan,” says Goddard. “If they have the wherewithal they need to hold on to their stability and keep their children’s development on track, they’ll be able to go forward strong. We’re going to give it everything we’ve got so that they do.”