While a large majority of the world 'shelters in place' the street children of Nairobi in Kenya are facing enormous risks to their safety. With a lack of safe shelter, food and access to water, these children are amongst the most at-risk people in the world. Numbers of confirmed COVID-19 infection are still low in Kenya...Read now
Like most of the world, Nepal is currently in a National Lockdown which, at the time of publishing on 22 April has been confirmed by the government to continue for another two weeks. However, it is widely anticipated the lockdown will be extended for another month.
There have now been 31 confirmed cases in Nepal, however, officials and those in the medical field remain highly sceptical of the accuracy of the testing and reporting being conducted. There are significant concerns about how Nepal’s inadequate healthcare system will be able to cope with any major outbreak and testing equipment is in short supply.
There are now some shops and markets allowed to open for a limited number of hours each day to enable the public to purchase supplies. However there are still major shortages of cooking oil and other foods, and there have been incidences of violence over the supply of goods.
There has been significant unrest and trouble on the Nepal and Indian border near Birgunj, with mobbing at the border when the lockdown went into place. Nepal continues to face issues securing the border with waves of Indian nationals trying to enter to avoid lockdown in India.
RHERI is a residential hostel that is home to over 40 hearing-impaired children who can’t get the support, education and inclusion they need at home.
The hostel is currently in full lockdown in line with national regulations and will remain so for the foreseeable future.
The hostel has established a quarantine room and given workshops on hygiene and COVID-19 preparedness to all children.
Ten children have returned to their homes, with the remaining children being cared for by two housemothers and one housefather. Two sign language teachers are also in lockdown with the children, providing essential support and accessible communication for the children.
There are 15 children currently at RHERI who come from families dependent on daily labour income. These families are struggling to pay for their rent and essential supplies and have been asking RHERI for support in the form of food.
Sano Paila is a community-based not-for-profit organisation providing care and support for at-risk children, many of whom have been abandoned, orphaned, trafficked or have suffered some other form of abuse or neglect.
Children in their care have been provided with sanitation education workshops, additional health supplies such as soap, masks and hand sanitizers, and the centres themselves are being sanitised daily by caretakers. In addition, 2-3 months of food and medical supplies were stocked onsite in advance of the lockdown to cover any extended period of isolation.
Sano Paila is located in Birgunj, an area currently experiencing a surge of unrest and instability due to a large push from Indian nationals trying to cross the border into Nepal.
As a result of the global economic impact of COVID-19 Sano Paila have lost the majority of their funding and are currently operating with a skeleton staff, many of whom are working without pay.
Star Children run two comprehensive programs for HIV and aids affected children, some of the most high-risk children in the world. The program partners have taken every precaution possible so far to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic, however, restrictions on movement have made this difficult for a number of reasons.
Key actions from Beyond the Orphanage & Star Children:
- The board of Star Children have developed a strategic plan and formed an emergency committee charged with primary decision making for emergency response.
- Star Children are in communication with government hospitals and are coordinating with local doctors for emergency response at any signs of exposure or infection.
- There is approximately two months of supply of medication onsite.
- Strict isolation and sanitation measures have been put in place at the KODE residential home. This includes:
- Isolation tent
- Sanitisation station at all entrances
- All staff and caregivers have had education and training aligned with the official guidelines from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention on steps for management and containment.
- There are restrictions on the number of visitors permitted to enter the residential compound. No children are allowed to leave the compound.
Star Children outreach program: Nawajiwan
Star Children also runs an outreach program called Nawajiwan that provides support to HIV affected children and their families. This support includes food, medical supplies and healthcare.
Due to government restrictions, Nawajawan is currently unable to operate its outreach program. Many of these families have lost their jobs and daily income, and are struggling to pay for food and rent.
Nawajiwan staff have been in regular contact with these families by phone including child-friendly communications designed to connect with children in lockdown with unstable home situations or family environments deemed as high risk. These ‘child check-ins’ are happening daily in the case of those assessed as highly vulnerable children.
Ongoing collaboration with health workers and local police has meant that as of April 18th, both Star Children and Nawajiwan are now able to make some isolated visits to Kode House and Courtenay House and to some of the most vulnerable children living at home in the community.
Our partners need support to keep their children safe
All three of our Nepali partners have gone above and beyond to do everything within their capacity to prepare and respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
However, all three are also facing a seemingly insurmountable challenge trying to protect the children in their care, keep their staff safe their organisations afloat, and most pressingly trying to keep
Can you help us?
We need your support to ensure our partners have the resources they need to continue providing the food, shelter and care to keep these children safe. If you would like to contribute, please donate to the COVID-19 Emergency Child Safety Appeal here.