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FAQs: How Does The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Affect Child Sponsorship

 

What happens if my sponsored child is in a community affected by COVID-19?

In each community where we work, World Vision staff and volunteers are closely monitoring the coronavirus situation and are already adjusting our programmes to respond to the changing needs. There are three different scenarios for the 54 countries where sponsored children live:

  1. Our child sponsorship programmes are operating as usual and already responding or are preparing to respond. In these communities, we will focus on preventing the spread of the virus, and to mitigate its effects. We are also working with health authorities to spread accurate information about coronavirus to our community partners.
  2. Our child sponsorship programmes are operating, but with some restrictions. In these communities, we have paused some of our less time-critical work to limit close contact between children and other people, but all other work continues.
  3. Our child sponsorship programmes are on hold and an emergency response is underway. Staff and volunteers are turning their focus to trying to keep the children we serve safe. This may include assisting with home learning, if schools are closed, by providing school materials and activities, or preventing the separation or stigmatisation of children during treatment and isolation.
 

What happens if my child becomes seriously ill from COVID-19?

The safety and well-being of the children we serve is our highest priority. If your sponsored child becomes seriously ill from coronavirus or any other illness, we will contact you with known information as soon as it’s operationally possible.

 

What happens if my child loses a parent or caregiver because of COVID-19?

We know from experience in the Ebola crisis and other disease outbreaks that the secondary impacts of the coronavirus can be devastating for children living in poverty, specifically losing a parent or older caregiver. If your sponsored child loses a parent/caregiver to coronavirus or any other illness, we will contact you with known information as soon as it’s operationally possible.

 

Can I still write a letter to my sponsored child?

Yes. In fact, we hope you will!

In such uncertain times, your sponsored child or their family could be facing fear, isolation or uncertainty and they could benefit from knowing you are thinking of and/or praying for them. In almost all countries, mail services are still operational and the World Health Organization advises that mail does not spread coronavirus. In impacted areas, it may take longer for your letter to be delivered but rest assured that it will, as soon as it’s safe to do so. If international mail restrictions are placed on any countries where we work, we will provide immediate updates.

Alternatively, you can send an e-Letter by clicking here. You can also send one via the My World Vision portal if you have an account.

 

If I’ve just written a letter to my sponsored child, will I get a reply?

Yes. If your sponsored child is not in an area impacted by COVID-19, you will receive a reply from them in the usual timeframe. However, if your sponsored child is in an area impacted, it may take longer than usual to get a reply. This is because our movements may be affected by government/local health authority restrictions. As soon as it’s safe to do so, a reply will be sent. Do note that Malaysia’s policies on receiving international mail could also impact the timeline.

 

Will I still receive an Annual Progress Report from my sponsored child?

At this point in time, we expect that many sponsors will receive an annual progress report and update photo from their sponsored child later this year. However, because of the dynamic nature of this pandemic and because our priority is always the safety of children, their families, our staff and volunteers, there could be delays or some delivery challenges. We will keep you updated as more information becomes available.

 

 

COVID-19 Country Updates (as of 27 April 2020)

 

Cambodia

Cambodia has confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the government has closed schools, cinemas and other public gatherings. Public transport has been suspended, travel between provinces has been banned, and Vietnam and Thailand have closed their land borders with Cambodia.

World Vision is working with community networks to promote COVID-19 awareness and prevention, and have reached 629,000 people so far. We are also providing families with basic hygiene kits that include soap and sanitiser. We are partnering with the World Food Programme and the local government to distribute emergency food supplies to families who need it most. On top of that, we are launching a positive parenting and home-based learning social media campaign. We are working with community members to continue monitoring the well-being of sponsored children, as there is a risk of health and child protection issues increasing during the crisis.

All of the communities we partner with in Cambodia are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause some operational delays. World Vision Cambodia staff are working from home where possible, or in our offices where necessary.

 

China

China was the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak and there are still restrictions in many parts of the country, including school closures and inter-province travel restrictions.

World Vision has been working to limit the spread of the virus by providing families and schools with basic hygiene supplies, equipping families with information about sanitation and mental health, and supporting health systems and workers through the provision of personal protective equipment, such as masks and gloves. We are also helping children impacted by COVID-19 by partnering with the Institute of Psychology to strengthen the capacity of teachers, psychologists and welfare workers to address the emotional impact of the virus. We have also reached over 350,000 people through water, sanitation, hygiene and health interventions, and 35,000 people with food assistance.

All of the communities we partner with in China have experienced restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause some operational delays. However, if the current recovery phase continues, it is expected that restrictions will continue to lift and schools may reopen in May. World Vision China staff continues to monitor sponsored children through community leaders and partners, via mobile phones and alternative methods.

 

Democratic Republic of Congo

There are confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The government has imposed a national lockdown with people allowed to leave their homes only to buy food and supplies every three days.

World Vision is working to train health workers and volunteers on COVID-19 prevention, distribute COVID-19 information and disinfectants in communities, and build handwashing facilities in public places. We are also training community leaders on how COVID-19 spreads and how to prevent it, and equipping them to share those messages with their communities. So far, we have trained 105 faith leaders, who in turn have reached an estimated 50,000 people in their local communities.

All the communities we partner with in the Democratic Republic of Congo are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause some operational delays. World Vision Democratic Republic of Congo staff are working from home, many with limited access to electricity.

 

India

India has thousands of confirmed COVID -19 cases. The government imposed a 40-day national lockdown on 24 March 2020 and only select activities like agriculture and health services are allowed to function. Several states have introduced laws against public gatherings, non-essential movement of people and enforced social distancing. Railway, road transport and air services have suspended all passenger services.

World Vision is working with the government, faith leaders and other community-based organisations to slow the spread of the virus by educating and equipping over 675,000 families with the knowledge and supplies they need to practise proper hygiene. We have trained more than 1,200 community volunteers to help where needed, distributed 34,600 handwashing kits and are broadcasting handwashing and child protection messages on radio. We are also strengthening local health workers by providing personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves and thermometers. For children affected by COVID-19, we are supporting them by providing over 10,600 vulnerable families with food rations, including 177,000 meals that specifically cater to the nutritional needs of children.

All of the communities we partner with in India are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause some operational delays. World Vision India staff are working from home but continue to meet online and connect with communities via mobile phone to help keep children, families and communities safe.

 

Indonesia

Indonesia’s first COVID-19 case was confirmed on 2 March 2020 and thousands of cases have been recorded since. The government has declared an emergency response, appointing provincial task forces, restricting people’s movement between provinces, imposing a travel ban for countries with high case numbers and requiring travellers to present a health certificate.

World Vision is working to limit the spread of COVID-19 by educating communities about proper hygiene practices, installing handwashing facilities in high-traffic communities, providing soap to vulnerable families, providing personal protective equipment to health facilities, and training community health workers. We have also been supporting children affected by COVID-19 by providing families who have lost their source of income with access to food and nutritional support.

All of the communities we partner with in Indonesia are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause some operational delays. World Vision Indonesia staff are working from home. Our emergency response team based in Indonesia, who had been working on earthquake and tsunami responses, will now focus on COVID-19 to help keep children and communities safe. We are working to support the government and our other partners with preventive measures and establishing a system of care for children whose families are affected by COVID-19.

 

Lebanon

Lebanon confirmed its first COVID-19 case on 21 February 2020. The government has launched a COVID-19 National Response Plan, but the crisis is expected to exacerbate the country’s already tenuous socio-political and economic situation. Many families are struggling to meet their children’s daily needs, especially among the large refugee population, which is equivalent to one in four people in Lebanon.

World Vision continues to monitor sponsored children and how COVID-19 is affecting them and their families. We have launched a national response to help prevent and limit the spread of the virus, which includes educating children, their families and communities on proper hygiene practices especially proper handwashing, and equipping vulnerable families in refugee settlements with soap. We are also working with community leaders to disinfect public areas and are distributing emergency food supplies to families that need it most. We continue to provide communities with water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, desludging water sources and trucking in water when necessary.

All of the communities we partner with in this region are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause some operational delays. All World Vision staff in the region are working from home.

 

Lesotho

There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lesotho. Still, the government has declared a national lockdown, including closing schools and banning all community gatherings except small funerals. There is a high risk of infection from nationals crossing the border, with the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in neighbouring South Africa.

We are helping the government to screen people in communities near the border with South Africa and to raise awareness about COVID-19 prevention, including training faith leaders to disseminate information in their communities. We are also planning to work with the government to provide food packs to sponsored children.

All of the communities we partner with in Lesotho are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause some operational delays.

 

Malaysia

Communities in the Tulid and Tatalaan Community Development Programmes (CDP) are complying with the nationwide Movement Control Order by restricting travel in and out of villages. Wholesalers have stopped entering villages to collect cash crops, which has prevented communities in Tulid from earning income. The communities in Tatalaan CDP also face great difficulties, as villages there are remote and far from essential services like healthcare and communication, and children do not have access to online learning.

World Vision Malaysia has been supporting the communities through sharing Information, Education and Communication materials on preventive measures, important contact information, ‘mythbusters’ and child protection guidelines. We have also delivered 25,000 masks and 100 litres of hand sanitiser for healthcare workers and community use to two rural clinics, which serve the sub-districts where our CDPs are located. On top of that, assessment tools have been developed and we are currently assessing community needs. This will inform our upcoming rehabilitation efforts for the next several months as we assist children and families in meeting their long-term needs.

*Through an ongoing local appeal, World Vision is seeking to help the vulnerable in Malaysia – unaccompanied and separated children, migrant families, refugees, and rural communities. To date, more than 1,000 children and families have been provided with relief items such as staple food (rice, flour, eggs, cooking oil and nutrition beverage) and personal hygiene items (soap, detergent and sanitary pads).

 

Mongolia

There are confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Mongolia. Thousands of people continue to be isolated and monitored as the virus emerges in the country. The government has restricted travellers arriving through international ports and is providing on-the-job training for health workers on managing COVID-19.

World Vision has provided personal protective equipment like masks and coats to the National Emergency Management Affairs, and has provided more than 7,000 families with food and hygiene kits in partnership with UNICEF. We are also distributing cash assistance to 1,700 most vulnerable families, and are providing jobs for 12 graduates of our Carpenter Producer Groups to produce 30 toilets, which will give local families better sanitation. We have also partnered with the government to launch a social media and local TV campaign on child protection, which has reached an estimated 75,000 people so far.

All of the communities we partner with in Mongolia are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause some operational delays.

 

Myanmar

Myanmar has confirmed cases of COVID-19. The government has ordered people to stay at home and avoid travel between villages. They have also asked non-governmental organisations not to conduct activities in communities with confirmed cases.

World Vision is working with the government to distribute personal protective equipment and medical supplies like masks, gloves, disinfectants, thermometers and sanitisers to health facilities. We have also repurposed a building used in our usual programming into an isolation ward for people suspected to have COVID-19 and trained midwives to help. Through our village health committees and community health workers, we are helping local authorities to reach 51,000 parents with information on preventing COVID-19. We are also providing 12,700 internally displaced people with food supplies, water purification tablets, soap, water buckets and COVID-19 information.

Several of the communities we partner with in Myanmar are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause some operational delays.

 

Philippines

Philippines has recorded thousands of COVID-19 cases. The government has imposed restrictions to contain the spread of the virus, including school closures.

World Vision has been educating children, families and communities on prevention methods, especially focused on proper hygiene, using information materials, radio and TV. We have also distributed sanitation kits to vulnerable families. Already, 1.4 million people have been reached through radio broadcasts with messages on infection prevention and control. We have also been strengthening health systems and workers by providing 34 health facilities that cater to vulnerable communities with disinfection kits, personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves, and other medical equipment. We have been supporting children affected by COVID-19 by ensuring that they have access to educational activities while schools are closed, providing families with fresh vegetables and cash assistance where needed, and ensuring families have access to low-cost insurance to address any health care or medical needs.

All of the communities we partner with in the Philippines are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause some operational delays.

 

South Africa

Thousands of COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in South Africa. The government has imposed a national lockdown and no one is allowed to leave their homes except to provide essential services. Because South Africa has the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDs and active tuberculosis, many people are at high risk for COVID-19. At the same time, South Africa does not have the capacity to test widely for the virus.

World Vision is distributing information about COVID-19 prevention and training faith leaders on prevention measures via WhatsApp so that they can share information with their communities. We are also partnering with shopping centres to broadcast hygiene messages through their public address system, distributing COVID-19 information brochures and posters, and broadcasting a weekly radio programme about COVID-19 prevention. We are working with the government to train new community health workers on COVID-19 screening and are planning to provide food packs to vulnerable families who are no longer receiving meals through our school programmes because of school closures.

All of the communities we partner with in South Africa are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause some operational delays. All World Vision South Africa staff are working from home. Our COVID-19 team meets online every day to update our response to help keep children and communities safe.

 

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has recorded cases of COVID-19 and some deaths. In response, the government has imposed an island-wide curfew, prohibited movement between districts and asked all people to work from home.

World Vision is focused on combating the spread of the virus in Sri Lanka. We have provided four mobile toilets and 1,500 water bottles to the quarantine centre in Chilaw, and provided masks to a COVID-19 testing lab in Sri Jayewardenepura Hospital. We have also distributed over 10,000 food packs to vulnerable families, including 100 families in Puttalam whose houses were damaged in a recent storm. We are also working with the government to educate communities on COVID-19 prevention.

All of the communities we partner with in Sri Lanka are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause some operational delays. World Vision Sri Lanka staff are working from home.

 

Thailand

Thailand has thousands of confirmed COVID-19 cases. The government has closed schools, universities and all business operations except food stores and pharmacies, restricted movement across national and provincial borders, and banned all public gatherings in an effort to contain the spread of the virus.

World Vision is working to keep children safe by educating children, families and communities on how to prevent the virus and protect children’s mental, physical and social well-being through an online platform and social media, which will be rolled out nationally through school networks. We are also distributing hygiene kits and virus prevention information to vulnerable families, and working closely with provincial health authorities to reach migrant workers from Myanmar with information on COVID-19 prevention. We have also trained 400 community health workers to provide community-based services.

To comply with government restrictions, World Vision Thailand staff are working from home. All of the communities we partner with in Thailand are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause some operational delays. We are still monitoring sponsored children through our community leaders and partners, via mobile phones and alternative methods.

 

Vietnam

There are confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Vietnam. The government has closed all schools and banned large public gatherings in an effort to contain the spread of the virus. However, small gatherings are permitted so some child sponsorship activities can continue, while others will be delayed.

In the communities where we work, World Vision is sharing information on COVID-19 prevention and handwashing, and helping children cope with stress. We are supporting the government to plan a national response and are also working with the government, health workers and police to establish incident reporting mechanisms in quarantine and isolation centres to help protect children and other vulnerable people. Most World Vision Vietnam staff are working from home and we have worked with our partners to adjust our operations to meet safety guidelines while maximising our programme’s effectiveness.

 

 

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