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ChildFund's COVID-19 Response by Region

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Our Work to Help Children Impacted by COVID-19 Continues


Since the COVID-19 crisis took the world by storm in early 2020, ChildFund has been working hard alongside our local partners, authorities, and families and children themselves to make sure kids have the food, water, health care, education and protection they need. Learn how we’re responding in each of the countries where we work in the Americas, Africa and Asia below – and we’ll update this page as our response progresses.

As children around the world continue to grapple with the challenges and stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic, your kind and supportive thoughts in a message could be just the thing they need. Mail delivery isn't as challenging as it used to be, though the slow and careful process of collecting and sharing precious messages with children continues to hold true. Remember, E-letters are still the safest, fastest and most reliable way to make sure your messages and photos get delivered to your sponsored child. Log in or register for your account and sign up for e-writing in the “My Correspondence” section of your donor portal to start writing today!

 

 


 
 
 

Updates by Region

 
 

 

 

The overall COVID-19 situation across our program countries in the Americas shows signs of improvement. Countries like Ecuador and Brazil are seeing increasing vaccination rates and gradual reopening. Elsewhere, vaccinations remain available primarily to priority groups, though more people are starting to get vaccinated overall. Schools are mostly open in hybrid learning modes, with some in-person opportunities and many students still experiencing virtual learning. While continued challenges have naturally impacted our programming, as well as the communications we support between sponsors and children, we continue to seek creative ways to stay connected with families and communities while keeping connections alive between children and sponsors.

A Snapshot of Life in Honduras

a smiling girl child with school supplies in Honduras

“This year I am at school!” says Jessy, 5, who just started kindergarten in Honduras. She is excited even though she cannot attend school in person due to pandemic restrictions. Instead, her mom receives Jessy’s lessons via phone. “My mom helps me with my schoolwork,” Jessy says. “Today I am going to draw and paint my family and my home.” Thousands of children are still studying remotely for their safety while Hondurans wait for vaccines.

Since our last report, new cases continue to be reported in all of our supported communities. Vaccines are generally available, though the penetration of vaccinations among the overall population remains low. Schools are open in hybrid mode, meaning that many children continue the path of virtual learning and social isolation. While general restrictions have lessened, a compulsory mask rule is in effect, and some municipalities may still impose specific safety measures in response to local case rates. Our programs use creative delivery channels, like online activities or local television, to help reach families with key messages and educational support. While international mail delivery has normalized, courier services within the country may experience disruptions, which slow our delivery and collection of correspondence between sponsors and children.

 

In Africa, much as we see in other parts of the world, cases continue to rise – with increased incidence of cases among children. Few new COVID-19 cases have been reported in recent months in our supported communities, though continued measures remain in place to promote public safety. Compulsory mask-wearing is in effect almost everywhere. In Kenya, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Mozambique, nightly curfews remain in operation across the country. And even where vaccines are reported available to the general public, vaccination rates remain among the lowest in the world, especially since they are not successfully reaching rural areas. On a positive note, schools are open for in-person learning in most countries. Our programming across the region continues to follow safety measures when gatherings occur and to explore other virtual means for connecting with children and families. In most areas, the communications we support between sponsors and children are normalizing once again, though delivery of these precious messages remains slow.

A Snapshot of Life in Senegal

a young woman wearing a head scarf and a protective mask

Adja, 17, contracted COVID-19 near the beginning of the pandemic in Senegal. ChildFund supported her family with a cash transfer and extra food during that time. “The hardest thing about being in the hospital was the quarantine – the loneliness, because I am not used to living away from my family,” Adja says. “When the staff of [ChildFund’s local partner organization] was informed about my health status, they spared no effort to provide me with encouragement. Every day, I received phone calls. … They reassured me and gave me advice, and their compassion touched me very much.”

Since our last report, new cases have been reported in only a few of the communities we serve. There was a countrywide decrease in the number of new cases in August (compared to the month of July, when the epidemic reached peaks around 200 cases per day). Like many of our program countries in Africa, vaccinations are available to priority populations only. As of mid-September, the percent of the Senegalese population reached with at least one dose was just under 7%. As of our last report, schools were still closed for their normal holiday period. In communities, compulsory mask rules and restrictions on public transport remain in effect. We continue our normal programming with strict safety measures in place. Mail systems are operational, though the collection and processing of messages between sponsors and children remains slow.


A Snapshot of Life in Zambia

a young African girl waring a white sweater stands beside her seated father

Martha, age 7, pictured outside her home in Zambia with her dad. Martha was sponsored during a ChildFund social media campaign in November 2020 to find sponsors for children in areas of Zambia hard-hit by COVID-19.

New cases of COVID-19 continue to decline around Zambia. However, while vaccines are generally available to the adult population, the number of people reached remains low. Schools are open in person, but compulsory mask rules remain in effect. Our community programming has been adjusted in line with COVID-19 restrictions and protocols, including limiting numbers of participants for trainings and wearing face masks during activities. Mail systems are operational, though the collection and processing of messages between sponsors and children remains slow.

 

The overall COVID-19 situation across our program countries in Asia remains a challenge. Fast-spreading variants continue to affect the majority of countries. Some countries, like Sri Lanka and Cambodia, continue to face partial or complete school closures while others are open for hybrid learning. One bright spot is that vaccination across these countries continues to progress. In countries like Sri Lanka, India and Cambodia, the progress is significant. On the other hand, in countries like Philippines and Indonesia, vaccination rates are lower. These challenges continue to require creative solutions to programming, including virtual connections with families and, in some cases, resumed distributions of food and hygiene supplies to the most vulnerable families. Our ability to facilitate timely communications between sponsors and children has improved, though sending and receiving messages continues to be slow.

A Snapshot of Life in Philippines

a screenshot of young women in the Philippines in a zoom event

In the Philippines, ChildFund has used technology to stay connected with children throughout the pandemic – like we did during this June training for youth advocates against child labor, held remotely via Zoom.

COVID-19 cases in the Philippines continued to increase over the summer. The month of August saw a frightening record in new cases and deaths in a single month. Since our last report, new cases of COVID-19 have continued to be reported in all areas where we work. Dozens of children enrolled in our programs have tested positive (or been exposed to someone who tested positive) and have undergone quarantine. So far, all are reported to be recovering well. Local communities face curfews, closures of nonessential businesses and travel restrictions in the face of increased spread. While there is high willingness among the population to be vaccinated for COVID-19, the supply, so far, has been limited. Despite the steady increase of cases, our local partners are resuming implementation of regular programs – though implementation is sometimes paused due to the declaration of local lockdowns. Mail delivery services remain stable, though local restrictions make the process of collection and delivery of correspondence a slow one.

 

 

Visuals on Vaccination


To get a better idea of COVID-19 vaccination rates where your sponsored child lives, check out these charts from Our World in Data.

 

Share of people vaccinated against COVID-19, Sep 19, 2021

 


 

COVID-19 vaccine doses administered per 100 people

 

 

 

Want More Information?


Follow the ChildFund office in your sponsored child’s country on Facebook for updates!