How your support is helping Baptist World Aid protect against and respond to the COVID outbreak in sponsorship communities
Thank you for your loving care for children during this global pandemic. We are conscious that now, more than ever, it’s important for us to stay connected and for you to know what’s happening with the Child Partner you support.
We hope this page will answer some of your questions and keep you informed about how COVID-19 is affecting communities and Child Partners, and how your Sponsorship is providing vital support as the impact spreads around the world. We are working closely with our local Christian Partners to monitor and respond to the situation in each community.
I would like to request my Australian friends to pray to God for the world’s people, [follow] the health-related instructions and extend your helping hands.
Child Partner from Bangladesh
Like Australia, countries where we have Sponsorship programs are still affected by the COVID pandemic. Here’s how our Partners are responding.
Due to COVID, our project communities have faced increased risk of school dropout, economic hardship, food shortages, unemployment, and compounding health challenges. Since the beginning of the pandemic, our Christian Partner organisations in Bangladesh have been working hard to support Child Partners and their families to reduce these vulnerabilities. Our Partner staff are still able to run the activities and group meetings with COVID safety precautions in place.
Protecting the most vulnerable Child Partners and their families is a priority for our Partners. Those facing extreme poverty within our project areas have received food to prevent starvation as well as farming resources to increase crop yields and boost incomes. Our Partners also supply hygiene items, including masks, hand sanitiser, and medicated soap to community members. In addition to these initiatives, our Partners are increasing access to clean water for drinking and washing hands to further protect Child Partners from outbreaks.
Child Partners and their families are becoming more resilient to the impacts of COVID, thanks to our local Partners distributing health information and training community leaders on how to manage outbreaks.
Prayer for Bangladesh:
Please join us in prayer that the Lord will be with those who are battling COVID in hospitals right now. We also pray for the needs and safety of the people of Bangladesh as COVID continues to impact the country. For the Lord to bring restoration, healing, and peace to the challenges they face.
Our Christian Partner organisation has worked tirelessly to reduce the risk of COVID for Child Partners and their families. COVID has meant that project communities in Cambodia have faced increased risk of permanent school dropouts, domestic violence, and mental health challenges.
Since the start of the pandemic, online education systems have enabled Child Partners to continue learning and have prevented many children from dropping out of school permanently. However, most schools have now reopened across the country with health and safety procedures in place to protect children and teachers against COVID.
The vaccine rollout in Cambodia began in February 2021, as of July this year, over 14,000,000 people are fully vaccinated and over 15,000,000 people have received at least one dose.
Prayer for Cambodia:
Please join us in prayer, that God will be with those most affected by COVID and for the reduction in Omicron cases across the country. We pray for children at risk of never returning to school, and those experiencing domestic violence and mental health challenges. We pray for God to bring healing and restoration.
Our local Christian Partner staff have been adapting project activities to reduce the negative impacts of COVID. This includes addressing reduced family income, school dropout and increased child marriage rates.
With large parts of the country’s economy shut down during the pandemic, many families who owned small businesses experienced reduced income and financial hardship. However, the reopening of the country’s borders is bringing welcome relief for families and their businesses.
Partner staff are focusing on COVID prevention activities and strengthening local health facilities. They continue to provide personal protective equipment and are distributing health information to prevent outbreaks in Sponsorship communities, including information about vaccination programs. Project staff and community leaders have been pleased to see that cases of other preventable illnesses in the community have significantly dropped due to better hygiene practises across project areas.
Schools are operating normally across our Sponsorship communities in Malawi. Preventative measures have been implemented across schools to provide protection against COVID. Reopening of schools mean that Child Partners are now less vulnerable to child marriage. Thanks to the hard work of our Partners running activities by distance during lockdown, many children have been withdrawn from child marriages since the beginning of the pandemic.
Prayer for Malawi:
Join us in thanking God for the prevention of child marriages in the community and praying that these children may experience the fullness of life God intends for them. Lord, we’re thankful you have the needs of the people of Malawi in your hands. We pray you bless them and be with them through the challenges COVID brings.
Urgent challenges faced by children and their families in Nepal are food scarcity, lack of access to clean water, increased child marriage rates, job loss and growing school dropout rates. During the Covid pandemic, our Partners adjusted their programming to address the most pressing needs of project communities. Hundreds of families have been given emergency food to combat hunger and food scarcity. Our Partners have also developed a new livelihood support program to increase incomes, especially for those living in remote areas.
To prevent the spread of COVID, hygiene information has been distributed to village leaders and families. Since the beginning of the pandemic, over 4,000 people have been supported with handwashing stations, including more than 70 families with children affected by disability.
In addition to these interventions, our Partners have worked with children and their families to raise awareness about the negative impacts of child marriage.
To keep Child Partners in school during lockdown, our Christian Partners used technology such as Google Classroom for remote learning or, for those without computers, lessons were broadcast over the radio. Schools have now reopened in line with local health guidelines in the project area and are running smoothly.
Prayer for Nepal:
Please join us in prayer, that God may uplift, give wisdom and encouragement to those in the position of caring for children and families most impacted by COVID, including Partner staff. We pray the Lord provides health workers with the resources needed to prevent the untimely death of mums, dads, brothers, and sisters fighting COVID in hospital.
Our Christian Partners in Uganda have been working alongside Child Partners and their families to identify the specific challenges they are facing because of the pandemic. They’ve found that the most pressing challenges are insufficient income, depletion of savings, lack of food, teenage pregnancy, high school dropouts and general disruption to education.
Our Partners have improved health and hygiene practices across the projects by raising awareness about hand washing techniques, ensuring families have access to water, and by providing more than 3,500 households with soap to protect against COVID.
Schools were reopened in January. Uganda experienced one of the longest school closures in the world due to COVID. Currently, some schools are unable to buy adequate numbers of hand soap and have limited access to clean water. However, our Christian Partners are working to help improve health facilities in schools and other community settings.
Debate clubs have been established to encourage children and youth to engage in discussion about COVID. This helps inform children and youth about the virus and assists in reducing its impact. Our Partners report that this has led to a reduction of COVID cases among children in schools.
Prayer for Uganda:
Please join us in prayer for Uganda. Lord, we are grateful that you are a compassionate Father, and we pray you would be close to those who are worried or afraid. We pray the work of our local Partner continues to be a light during this time, and that your mercy will extend even to the far corners of the nation.
At the rapid rate of change that is occurring with COVID around the world, we will ensure this page is updated as regularly as possible with the latest news from the field.
Last Updated: 16 August 2022
Looking to know more about child sponsorship, especially during the pandemic? Find the answer to your question on our Sponsorship Frequently Asked Question page.
We recently asked children and youth across a number of our projects about their experience of the pandemic. Read more about this important research in this article on our New & Stories page, ‘The impact of COVID-19 on children and youth’.
The study shows clear examples of how COVID-19 is affecting the world’s most vulnerable – children. COVID has made life harder for children in poverty and experts suggest its impact is going to be felt for years to come.
To help keep more children and families safe from COVID, why not give your most important gift ever?