Your Sponsored Child and Coronavirus

How your support is helping Baptist World Aid protect against and respond to the coronavirus outbreak in sponsorship communities

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Thank you for your loving support and care for your sponsored children during this global pandemic. We are conscious that now, more than ever, it is important for us to stay connected with each other and for you to know what is happening with your sponsored child.

We hope this page will help to answer some of your questions and keep you informed about how the coronavirus is affecting your sponsored child’s community, and how your sponsorship is providing vital support as the impact spreads around the world. We are working closely with our Christian partners in the field to monitor and respond to the situation in each community.

Country Updates

Like Australia, countries where we have sponsorship programs are in lockdown. Although our partner staff in most countries are abiding by government isolation advice, they are busy maintaining contact with sponsorship communities and providing support where they can.

Here are some country updates and ways in which our partners are taking action right now:

A small map of Bangladesh
Bangladesh

Bangladesh has a large and growing number of coronavirus cases. The virus has been spreading quickly despite restrictions, due to high-density populations and a lack of awareness. The healthcare system is struggling to cope with the rising numbers. Bangladesh withdrew nationwide lockdown at the end of May and has transitioned to smaller-scale lockdowns in areas identified as high risk. Schools are closed. Over one million Rohingya refugees are at risk of contracting the virus, due to poor and cramped living conditions.

Staff from our local partner organisations are working from home. All group activities are currently on hold in our sponsorship projects. Staff have been distributing health information to prevent outbreaks in project communities, and providing awareness-raising materials to reduce the risk of domestic violence. They’re also supplying emergency food packages and hygiene items, including masks and soap, to 2,150 vulnerable community members as well as local health workers.

Read the Bangldesh country factsheet

A small map of Cambodia
Cambodia

Cambodia only has a small number of cases, and initial lockdown restrictions have successfully contained the spread so far. Most confirmed cases have now recovered. Many of the original restrictions have been lifted, however all schools remain closed and large public gatherings banned.

Many parents in the sponsorship project area, who usually depend on casual labour or cross-border work, have experienced loss of work and income, and are struggling to provide for their families. Staff from our local partner, FH Cambodia, are still working from home. They have been raising awareness in communities about the continued risks of coronavirus, focusing on prevention activities and distributing information about good hygiene practices. Sponsored children and their families are practicing handwashing and encouraging others who visit their homes to do the same. FH has been utilising technology to maintain strong, safe contact with them.

Read the Cambodia country factsheet

A small map of Malawi
Malawi

Malawi has had a relatively small number of reported cases so far, however the number has started to rise. Low testing rates are a cause for concern. A partial lockdown has been in place since 4 April, with large gatherings banned and schools closed. The High Court blocked a decision by the President to impose further restrictions, in order to protect millions of families living in poverty. A full lockdown could have devastating impacts on these families, leaving them without income and food.

Staff from our local partner, CSP Malawi, are continuing to meet with sponsorship communities as per guidelines regarding social distancing and the number of people allowed to gather. They have been adapting their programming to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus, focus on prevention activities and strengthen community health facilities. They are providing personal protective equipment and distributing information to raise awareness about the virus.

A small map of Nepal
Nepal

Nepal has a significant and growing number of coronavirus cases. Transmission risk levels are high due to mobile populations and dense urban areas. The nationwide lockdown (in place since 24 March) began to be eased in certain areas on 15 June. All schools remain closed and public gatherings banned, and a nightly curfew is in place. The length of lockdown has been having a detrimental impact on livelihoods and the economy. Many families in rural areas are struggling to survive due to loss of work and income.

All staff from our local partner, United Mission to Nepal (UMN), are working from home. They are maintaining regular contact with sponsorship families via phone and child-friendly social media. There are now around 50 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the project area, though no sponsorship families have been affected at this stage. UMN has adjusted its programming to focus on prevention activities. They have set up handwashing stations in communities. They have been providing hygiene information and psychosocial support for sponsorship families, to help them during lockdown. Sponsored children have learned to wash their hands regularly with soap and water. Over 3000 families have received emergency food packages. UMN has also been supporting local health workers and health facilities, to make sure they’re ready to respond to the virus. This includes providing training, personal protective equipment, infrared thermometers and hygiene items.

Read the Nepal country factsheet

A small map of the Philipines
Philippines

The Philippines has a significant and growing number of coronavirus cases. Lockdown was implemented in mid-March, and thousands of families have been suffering from unemployment, hunger and poverty. Restrictions began to be eased in mid-May, despite rising case numbers, in an attempt to help these families and ease economic losses. High-risk areas are still under strict lockdown and schools remain closed.

Staff from our local partner, SAO Philippines, have adjusted their programming and are utilising technology as much as possible. This includes an online social media campaign with sponsorship families, to raise awareness about how they can take preventative measures and practice good hygiene. SAO has been creating activities that families can participate in during isolation. They’ve also been providing food items such as rice – 630 sponsorship families have received food assistance so far. All face-to-face group activities are on hold.

Read the Philippines country factsheet

A small map of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has had a relatively small number of cases so far. The island-wide lockdown and curfew (which started on 20 March) have both now been lifted, as restrictions were gradually eased from mid-May. Schools and churches remain closed though and large public gatherings banned.

Our local partner, LEADS, has begun an emergency response to the crisis (to donate to this, visit our COVID-19 Appeal page). They have set up handwashing stations in communities and are raising awareness about the continued risks of coronavirus. Staff have been providing sponsorship families with hygiene items (including soap and sanitiser), food packages, counselling support, and education packs for home-learning. They’ve also been distributing protective equipment, such as gloves, masks, and gowns, for village health workers. As restrictions ease, LEADS will be supporting cleaning efforts to make community spaces safe to use. At this stage staff are still working remotely.

Read the Sri Lanka country factsheet

A small map of Uganda
Uganda

Uganda has only had a small number of cases so far. Lockdown and curfew measures began to be eased on 26 May, with further lifting of restrictions taking place since early June. Many families however have still been experiencing food shortages, surviving on only one meal a day. Schools and churches remain closed and public gatherings banned. Cross-border goods trucks and refugee immigrants still pose a risk of bringing the virus in from elsewhere.

All face-to-face group activities are on hold, but staff from our local partner organisations have been maintaining regular contact with sponsored children and are able to meet with individual families. Staff are increasingly concerned about possible outbreaks in high-density refugee settlements. They have been distributing health information to promote good hygiene in sponsorship communities. They are ensuring families have access to water for handwashing, and are providing hygiene kits to vulnerable households. 2000 families have received soap for handwashing. A few farming villages in the project area have also been impacted by recent flooding. Staff are providing support to affected families who have lost crops or had their homes damaged.

Read the Uganda country factsheet

“To our sponsors in Australia, we are very thankful for your support and prayer. Together we will beat this pandemic. Thank you for everything.”
– Jun, a sponsored child from the Philippines

At the rapid rate of change that is occurring with the coronavirus around the world, we will ensure this page is updated as regularly as possible with the latest news from the field.

Last Updated: 26th June 2020

FAQs




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