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As the world settles in and continues to adapt to the COVID-19 crisis, our partners continue to work tirelessly to support at-risk children in Nepal and Kenya.
We have been blown away by the support of our community during our COVID-19 Emergency Child Safety appeal which has enabled us to support our partners to provide urgent supplies to children and their families who have lost income and have had great difficulty accessing food.
NEPAL COUNTRY UPDATE
Nepal has begun to move into a 3-phased process of ‘opening up’ their businesses, schools and community. The reopening process commenced on the 15th of June with a phased approach beginning with a two-week period during which government offices, markets and shops and vehicle movement on the roads will return
In fortnightly phasing, other sections of society are estimated to open up in early August including other offices, public transport and schools.
However, Nepal is still experiencing a rise in COVID-19 cases and Red zones including BIrgunj and Kathmandu currently remain in lockdown.
There is a widespread feeling that a full nation-wide lockdown may, in fact, resume as although the country is opening up the number of confirmed cases is rising exponentially, with 500 new cases detected a day.
There are currently some significant child safety concerns in Nepal, these include:
- The government has ceased nutritional supplement programs due to the difficult economic climate, increasing the rates and chances of malnutrition.
- Child labour – the reason Nepal has been so quick to re-open appears to be driven largely by their economy having suffered enormously from a complete halt to tourism. There are fears that the worsening economic crisis will lead to an increase in forced child labour.
- There is serious concern regarding contamination from contagious diseases for the HIV infected children living in the community and not in a BTO supported facilities, as the wider community begins to reopen and mobilise again.
- The government have warned that they may not be able to cover school fees in the months ahead due to economic hardship.
NEPAL PARTNER RESPONSE
Our partners continue to provide excellent support and hygiene education for the children and families in their care.
In both Pokhara and Nepalganj, our partners have distributed funds raised during our COVID-19 Emergency Child Safety Appeal in the form of rent subsidies, food, cooking oil and other basic supplies to families who are day-labourers and currently without any form of income
Both partner organisations have taken the opportunity to distribute face masks, soap, hand sanitizer and bottled water and educating the local communities while doing so.
KENYA COUNTRY UPDATE
On 6 June, the Kenyan Government made the unexpected and surprising announcement to extend the nation-wide lockdown for another 30 days. The extension means families and children preparing for a return to school will now need to wait until 1 September when schools are now scheduled to reopen.
The local situation continues to be very unstable. Although there are only a total of 120 recorded cases, the curfews and restrictions have caused a multitude of other problems including mass unemployment, poverty, hunger and general public chaos. The social and economic impact of the restrictions are widely thought to be causing more issues than the virus itself and there is widespread confusion and growing resentment towards the use of violence by the government in maintaining order and enforcing social distancing.
KENYAN PARTNER RESPONSE
Along with our partner program, Alfajiri, BTO arranged for the children in our care to stay with host families at the beginning of COVID-19. Most of their hosted stays have been extended in line with the lockdown while new accommodation is being found for three children.
As school will not be reopening until September, Alfajiri is working to provide online learning solutions for the children, however, most children do not have access to digital devices or internet.
Alfajiri is also helping some of the older Nairobi street boys to start small businesses/projects such as chicken and rabbit farming, pig breeding and planting vegetables. These projects aim to keep them occupied and give a source of income as jobless numbers continue to increa
We would like to extend a big thank you to our community who have continued to support us and our partners during this time. If you would like to contribute to the ongoing efforts of our partners you can donate to the COVID-19 Emergency Child Safety Appeal here.