How Child Sponsorship is affected by Covid-19

  • Date: 25/06/2020
  • Author: Julianne Flynn
Sponsored Child, Shathi (10) from Bangladesh. Photo: Ariful Islam/ActionAid

Covid-19 has brought urgent and necessary changes to our Child Sponsorship programme. If you are a Child Sponsor, we know you will be worried about the child your sponsor. We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions below.

As Covid-19 spreads, the world’s most vulnerable people are facing an immense catastrophe. Whether it is from the illness or loss of livelihoods, ActionAid is mobilised around the world to support women and families.

This couldn’t have been done without the generosity of Child Sponsors in Ireland. Thanks to generous supporters hailing from every county in Ireland, ActionAid Ireland has directed €500,000 towards lifesaving Covid-19 responses in communities across Africa and Asia.

With your support, we will be working long-term to lessen the spread, reduce the impact of the disease and support people who have lost their livelihoods. This is only possible with the commitment of amazing people like you. Thank you.

How is ActionAid responding to the coronavirus pandemic? 

Anjana and her children in Nepal receiving 1.5 months of food supplies, as well as an infection prevention kit. Sabin Shrestha/ActionAid Nepal

People living in poverty are already faced with the harsh consequences of other humanitarian disasters.

Crowded living conditions mean families will find it difficult to distance themselves from others. Also, many people cannot access the water, sanitation, healthcare and the vital information they need to stay safe.

Through child sponsorship, we have long-standing relationships with many communities in the countries where we work. Right now, we are working around the clock with the most vulnerable communities to ensure families are supported during this health emergency.

Through local women’s groups, we are distributing life-saving health information, hygiene kits, and personal protective equipment (PPE) to key workers.

We’re also working to tackle misinformation. This means translating vital public health advice, such as regularly washing hands with soap, into local languages and getting it to the most marginalised and hardest to reach people, including women and girls.

Will this affect the child I sponsor?

This is a rapidly changing situation, and our child sponsorship work is crucial to our ability to respond as necessary to the needs of the communities where we work.

As soon as the scale of the health crisis was apparent, ActionAid immediately stopped all mass gatherings. This included our events to collect child messages, as the health and well-being of the children and their families is paramount.

In many of the countries where we work, the governments have closed schools and asked people to isolate to help reduce the risk of the disease spreading.

For these reasons, we cannot yet confirm the status of individual sponsored children or their families. But as soon as it is safe to get in touch with each family, we will update you with further news.

This of course may mean we will not be able to collect the next scheduled messages from the children as planned.

I’m sure you’ll understand that the health and well-being of sponsored children, their families and communities is our overriding priority. We ask you to please bear with us as we face this challenge – it may be some time before we can update you further about the child you sponsor.

Can I still write to the child I sponsor?

Yes, please do! Communication is now more important than ever as we all face the challenges that Covid-19 brings. We have received so many amazing messages of support from our child sponsors for the children they sponsor.

Myla wrote this lovely message to Prencence in Democratic Republic of Congo, the child her family sponsors

Myla wrote this lovely message to Prencence – the child her family spsonsor.

While we cannot yet deliver these to the children directly, we do encourage you to write, as it is important to stay connected. As soon as it is safe to do so, we will share these messages with the children and their families.

If you would like to write a message, you can do it online here.

Your messages of support always mean so much to the children, their families and communities – thank you!

When will I get an update from or about the child I sponsor?

Unfortunately we do not know when we’ll be able to collect further messages from the children. And once restrictions are lifted, it may take some time to restart all aspects of sponsorship, including collecting messages.

But as soon as we are able, and it is safe to do so, we will again organise fun events for the children to participate in, including our very special child message activities.

See below for a message from children in Nepal:

How can I keep informed?

The situation is constantly evolving, and we are working with our colleagues across the world to gather the latest updates.

We will be sending updates to child sponsors via post and email as soon as we can, but if you have any further questions, please email info@actionaid.ie or phone 01 878 7911

Thank you again for your compassion at this difficult timeYou are helping to #StopTheSpread and save lives.

A version of this blog was originally published by ActionAid UK.

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