Edmund Rice Mission Responds to COVID-19
From South Africa to Latin America to Ireland, all corners of the globe have been affected in some way by the COVID-19 virus. Edmund Rice Mission has been responding to this global pandemic in various ways while continuing to serve the most marginalised in their communities.
In Kenya, the Ruben Centre in the Mukuru informal settlement of Nairobi has directly been affected by the virus when a man who visited the clinic subsequently tested positive; two staff who were treating the man are now in quarantine. In response, the Health Clinic closed for a week (with the exception of the Birthing Unit and HIV clinic that remained open) to prepare its staff and facilities to safely handle and treat patients with extra precautions in place to handle suspected cases. Thanks to an Emergency Grant from Misean Cara, the Ruben Centre will be supplied with safety equipment and protective gear to address the COVID-19 situation and continue to serve the Mukuru community in the safest way possible. (The school at the Ruben Centre closed in March and has remained closed following government regulations.)
The Justice Desk in South Africa has moved its educational campaigns online, and created additional campaigns relating to the COVID-19 outbreak. Their Advocacy team is working to ensure that people know their rights and that those committing human rights violations are being held accountable during this emergency. Additionally, the project staff has started providing warm meals, food parcels, sanitary items and preventative medical supplies to three townships Nyanga, Wesbank and Khayelitsha outside of Cape Town. This was implemented making use of strict distancing and hygiene measures to ensure the safety of all those involved. They are also running two awareness campaigns: one provides information on how to stop the spread of Covid-19, while the other provides information on how to protect yourself and get help if you are experiencing gender-based violence during the lockdown.
In Latin America, many of the project personnel are working from home and thinking of creative ways to continue their activities. The advocacy project Defensoria Edmundo Rice has gone virtual. Program Manager Paola Miranda along with local coordinators in Argentina, Bolivia and Uruguay have set up discussion forums online with students from different schools. They discuss various topics including the current situations created by the Coronavirus and how human rights are preserved. In Centro Hermano Manolo in Bolivia, the drop-in centre for youth has been closed, but the project continues to be active. Project personnel are delivering food supplies and cleaning materials to the beneficiary families, most of whom have lost their casual jobs in the marketplace due to the government lockdown.
In India, the children’s advocacy project PRATYeK has taken its activities online to engage students at home in a creative way. The project has continued to run some of its children’s parliaments through WhatsApp groups where they have promoted the importance of social distancing and mental health awareness. In partnership with UNICEF, they released an online course on COVID-19 entitled Corona Warriors: www.nineismine.in/courses
They have also responded to the local needs of the community by providing food parcels to the people most in need. So far, they have reached over 1,000 vulnerable families (over 160,000 meals) across the country by providing dry rations and sanitation supplies in relief kits. In New Delhi , they have also provided hundreds of families with daily dry rations along with daily hot meals to the homeless, which was done in partnership with the Government of Delhi.
We thank all of our supporters and donors, especially Misean Cara who have empowered our projects to adapt their activities and funding to respond to the urgent needs on the ground during this unprecedented time.