This week while I was thinking about the subject of our blog I really wanted it to not be about COVID-19. I wanted to talk about something different. It seems to be all we talk about, but then again it is a pandemic that has gripped the world.
The centre of the pandemic is moving, Italy seems to be on the right side of their peak curve, Spain too, seem to be reducing the number of infections and subsequently deaths. Each country has advertised their own aid package to help their citizens in this tough time.
The news is dominated by the nations suffering the most at the moment for obvious reasons, and yet we mustn’t make the mistake that has been made by so many and underestimate what could happen in the near future. Yesterday Congo celebrated the official end of their biggest Ebola outbreak while South Sudan announced their first case of COVID 19, Congo now begins to brace itself for the COVID outbreak. Yemen announced their first case sparking fear that a country already hit by war and famine will not be able to cope with the pandemic. Recently the Malawian president shared his strategy for dealing with an outbreak, it’s easy, they just don’t have any COVID 19 test kits available. Zambia, one of the countries we work in, has announced only 40 cases, and yet the reality of course may be different. We have friends working in a clinic that has been designated an isolation centre and yet they have no ventilators and one oxygen machine. Friends in Zimbabwe shared these photos.
Clearly if COVID-19 affects these nations in any way like it has struck Europe and America then the impact will be very serious indeed. Whatever happens the effects of this pandemic will certainly be felt in the days and weeks ahead. Our economy is shaken to its foundations, and yet we still have the capacity to recover. Many of the nations in Africa and other parts of what is often called the ‘developing world’ will suffer an economic fallout coupled with any health and social challenges, that will be difficult to endure.
We received news recently that the children we support in Kenya have been sent home from school as all schools have been closed indefinitely. Most of them are orphans and so although this is about public health, the lockdown has thrown them and the families that have taken them in into hardship.
The already fragile economic conditions in Zambia have been exacerbated by the global downturn and the basic staple food has increased in price by up to 400%
Just as in our own experience, the silent and unforeseen effects of this pandemic are many and varied. That is why we are launching our COVID Rapid Response Fund.
While our concerns for our own situation and uncertainty about the future may dominate our thinking, in many ways our lives have simplified at least in the short term. Things we were spending money on are just not part of our lives at the moment. Why not take advantage of that and give in small, everyday ways to our fund so that we can help people and families in a big way.
What we have decided to do is list 10 items that we may not be buying right now. Things like a tank of fuel, a cinema ticket or a meal out and we have put an estimated price on these. So, if you are saving money by not buying these items at the moment, we are asking you if you would consider donating this money into our COVID 19 rapid response fund. This will allow us to have money available to help ease the burden created by this international situation. There is also the option for you to add any amount of your choosing to the total.
Our coronavirus response page makes it very simple for you. If, for example, you buy a coffee on the way to work every day, you could donate 5 cups of coffee. As you add items to your basket a running total at the top of the page will tell you how much you are donating. When you have completed your theoretical ‘shop’ you can click ‘donate’ and you will be taken to the checkout page.
The cost of one cinema ticket can provide food for a whole family. So you can see how easy it is to make a real difference. Thank you in advance for your generosity.