A World in Crisis
There is no corner of the globe that hasn’t been affected by the current coronavirus global pandemic in some way. While the LWCF core team remains healthy and safe at home, with access to resources like food and clean water, we are watching the crisis unfold around us, and the beginnings of it have reached the countries where our supported schools, centers, and programs are located.
Our hearts go out to those for whom social distancing is not an option, those who have no access to clean water for proper hand washing, those who can’t “stay at home” because they have no home to go to, and those facing food insecurity in these difficult times. We are staying in close contact with our team members, partners and collaborators on the ground to stay informed about the welfare of our children, and the conditions in countries where Living Water Children live, Kenya, Tanzania, Myanmar, Guatemala, and Haiti, and will be posting weekly updates here on our website, as well as additional news and updates on our Facebook page.
How You Can Help
We at Living Water are still committed to working to meet the basic needs of our Living Water Children around the world. We have temporarily turned our efforts to providing emergency food supplies to the orphanages we support, and as funds continue to become available, to the families of children who attend Living Water supported schools and programs. The need is great everywhere, and is growing with each passing day. If you want to be a part of this effort please click here to donate to our Emergency Food Relief Fundraiser
We thank all who have donated so far, as well as our sponsors, regular supporters and donors for continuing their generous support during this time. We know that together, we will get through the difficult times ahead. It truly takes a village.
Coronavirus Updates from Living Water Countries
As of 4/4/2020, Kenya has 126 confirmed cases of coronavirus, and has had 4 virus related deaths. By mid-March, all schools in the country had been closed preemptively, including Dorothy Schwartz Community Centre, and the secondary schools that sponsored LWCF students attended. At that time, our sponsorship coordinator and liaison, Isaaac N. Okumu made transportation arrangements for all sponsored students, so they would not be in danger traveling on crowded buses, and also arranged temporary homes for most of those students in rural villages or towns to keep them from the dangerous conditions of the Mukuru slum, where crowded living conditions and lack of resources like clean water would put them at higher risk. All DSCC students remain with their families in Mukuru slum, as they have no where else to go. Crowded conditions, lack of clean water, and lack of access to food remain a troubling reality and we continue to monitor.
The first confirmed case of coronavirus in Tanzania was announced on March 16, and was travel related. As of 4/4/2020, there are 20 confirmed positive cases and one death. Schools were immediately shut down and restrictions went into place. LWCF’s Sherry Fine Academy and Joann McManus Schools were both closed down, and the staff and students have continued to stay at home. Living Water Children’s Centre boarding school students were picked up by their family members, with all orphans remaining on site and following strict social distancing and hand washing guidelines. Our liaison and sponsorship coordinator Gwamaka Kiwale has reported that team members are also staying home, though he did make a brief visit to the center last week to ensure that the children were following all guidelines and keeping their distance from one another.
READ MORE: When coronavirus came to Tanzania
As of 4/4/2020, Guatemala has 61 confirmed cases of coronavirus and has had 2 deaths. The country closed its borders and issued stay at home orders early on. All students at Casa Guatemala, who were already practicing social distancing and regular hand washing before the schools were closed, were sent home to their families, with staple food supplies that had been donated to the school. LWCF continues to support Fundaniños orphanage with food supplies, as the children there have no homes to go to, and limited access to basic resources.
READ MORE: Casa Guatemala Update
Myanmar has a total of 21 confirmed cases and one death, as of 4/4/2020. As around the world, significant measures have been taken to help prevent its spread, including the canceling the Thingyan Water Festival and banning all mass gatherings through the end of April. Bikkhu Eindaka, one of our contacts there has let us know that he feels the Ministry of Health is handling the situation well. However, there is an expected surge of cases coming to the country, as thousands of migrant workers return to Myanmar from neighboring Thailand.
READ MORE: Myanmar braces for surge in coronaviruscases
Haiti went on a strict lockdown and closed off its borders early on. In a country already struck by social unrest and food insecurity, this is an especially difficult time for the children and families in the programs LWCF supports. There are currently 18 confirmed cases and zero deaths. Like in our other sites, schools have been closed for several weeks, but the reality of lack of food resources is already hitting hard. The situation is dire and has prompted comments from our contacts that many parents have stated they would rather risk contracting coronavirus than remain on lockdown and face death by starvation.
READ MORE: Haitians rush for supplies after first COVID-19 cases found
Health experts race to plan for the potential arrival of COVID-19 in a makeshift refugee camp on the US-Mexico border. Team Brownsville, who LWCF board member Sue Abrams volunteered with last month is now asking for anyone who has traveled by plane or public transportation to please not volunteer at this time, and it continues to grow more and more difficult too make the trip over the border to share food and donate supplies.