Not all deaths from the coronavirus pandemic are from COVID-19.
Lockdown has been catastrophic for millions, and as ever, the world’s poorest are hit hardest. Acute hunger, joblessness and despair are wreaking havoc in vulnerable communities worldwide.
*Heena worked as a servant after her father’s suicide. She was just nine years old, and was abused and afraid. Global Care’s partners paid the family’s debt and gave Heena and her brother *Viraj a place at the GCare centre, which helps Dalit children access education in Patripul, a slum near Mumbai. Two years passed. Heena flourished. And then the coronavirus pandemic began.
Lockdown meant no work. So the family couldn’t eat. Our partners delivered a food parcel, but when it ran out, Mum moved the family to a different slum, thinking it might be better there. She was wrong. Our partners continued to feed families, with four separate deliveries of food parcels over 12 weeks, but were refused permission to enter any slum other than Patripul. Now, seven year-old Viraj is dead, of starvation. His grief-stricken mum has had a mental breakdown.
As shown in this photo, she spends her days wandering the streets with her baby daughter. Heena needs us now more than ever: Our partners have arranged for Heena to live with her aunt, and are paying for her keep. The aunt was unable to offer a home to her sister. A solution still needs to be found.
Half a world away, in another slum, hard-working Gordon is now so broke he can’t even afford to take his kids to the toilet. Global Care is committed to doing all we can to help, and to bring hope.
Gordon’s first wife died of AIDS, leaving him with four children including six-month-old *Freddy, who was HIV+. He supported the family as a conductor on long-distance buses from Nairobi, Kenya. Five years ago, he met Lilian, selling tea and snacks to bus travellers. They married, and Lilian moved in her with her two teenagers. Freddy was six. His baby brother arrived a year later.
They are a large family in a small shack in Kibera, Africa’s biggest slum. Freddy’s HIV+ status means he has a place at Spurgeon’s Academy, a primary school for some of Kibera’s most vulnerable children, supported by Global Care. But the coronavirus pandemic has been disastrous for this family. Lockdown meant no movement in or out of Nairobi. And that was the end of their source of income.
Gordon told our partners: “The year began so well and we were so expectant with good plans, until this virus came in. Yesterday, I still cannot believe that I lacked even money for toilet (Ksh. 10.00 /less than a penny) for me and my children because of Covid-19! I have never been this broke!!” The family have received regular food parcels from Spurgeons throughout lockdown. Gordon wept as he said: “The support through food has really sustained us and may God bless you and your donors.”
Global Care has been delivering food parcels and hygiene supplies to vulnerable families like these in eleven countries, on four continents, since the earliest days of the pandemic. It is only through the generosity of our UK donors that we have been able to keep going. Sadly, experts predict that billions more people will experience acute hunger and be tipped into extreme poverty by the end of 2020, as further lockdowns, problems with supply chains, and escalating prices make food unobtainable for too many families. Please help us continue, there can be no doubt of the impact you are having.
Immaculate says 2020 has been the most difficult year of her life. Lockdown closed the market where she sold second-hand clothes. As the breadwinner responsible for 15 children and four adults, this was catastrophic. She has since used all her savings to feed the children and buy medication. She borrowed in every shop and is now indebted everywhere.
One of the children in her care attends the Disability Play Scheme supported by Global Care in Abeko, a disadvantaged rural community in eastern Uganda. Imagine Immaculate’s joy when she heard that all the families connected to the local Disability Support Group (DSG), which runs the play scheme, would receive a food parcel from Global Care. Food parcels have been delivered to 113 families in the DSG in Abeko, and a further 50 in the DSG in Atiira.
In a country where disability still carries stigma, creating huge barriers to education and opportunity, Global Care has supported the DSGs as a community-led intervention to advocate for disabled children and adults, working together for local solutions and for change. Our local team have seen first-hand the many hardships caused by Uganda’s lockdown in communities which were already vulnerable. They say: “The aim was to reach out to everyone and make every child and family linked to Global Care feel the same sense of belonging, to know that this is not the time to segregate but to share whatever little we have.”
You can be the difference for people in vulnerable communities, like Gordon, Heena and Immaculate. Please consider supporting our coronavirus response, by using the button at the bottom of this page to donate to our Children At Risk crisis fund. Please give generously.