As a global pandemic, the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) is immense and far-reaching.
For developing countries, this pandemic poses a significantly high risk to health, safety and social stability.
Beyond the Orphanage have been working closely with our in-country program partners in Nepal and Kenya to monitor the local situations, and to implement measures to keep the children in our care as safe and protected as possible.
At the time of publishing on Thursday 19th March, we can provide the following updates about the local COVID-19 situations and our response strategies.
The local situations
As of Thursday, March 19th, Nepal has only one confirmed case of COVID -19. However local health care workers and officials have raised doubts over the accuracy of the investigation and reporting being conducted within the country.
Hold on arrival visas, a medical clearance is required to gain entry to the country
Land borders have been closed to foreign nationals
Air travel has been restricted from European countries
All arrivals need to self-isolate for 14 days
Hand sanitiser is scarce
The cost of protective masks and petrol are highly inflated, with LPG dealers reportedly withholding supply to artificially increase demand and access
Nepali Partner Response:
Our partner organisations in Nepal have begun delivering education and awareness workshops to help ensure the children understand and maintain good hygiene standards.
They are also making and distributing COVID prevention kits to all children in our care including hand sanitiser, face masks, soap and tissues.
The situation in Kenya has evolved rapidly over the past week, with at least three existing documented cases at the time of writing. As with all developing nations the availability and access to testing is minimal, and there is expected to be major underreporting of cases.
Kenya has closed its borders to foreign nationals
All non-essential travel outside of Kenya has been banned
Public gatherings have been suspended
All schools have been closed
Kenyan Partner Response:
All children in Kenya have been sent home from school and, unfortunately, schools are not refunding fees that have already been paid.
The children in the BTO program who have families have returned to them, while those who do not have families or guardians have been placed with host families.
The street children who access Alfajiri’s Street Kids Art programs are not as fortunate. Alfajiri are working closely with the local Government to try to organise for children to be moved to safer rural homes and centres if that is their preference.
Alfajiri have suspended regular art workshops and have replaced these with talks from a local doctor. The doctor will be delivering educational talks with the street children about the virus and what they can do to stay safe.
Beyond the Orphanage priorities moving forward
In this complex and unprecedented situation, BTO is working to prioritise and mobilise appropriate measures to protect our children and to support the wellbeing of our partner programs.
As of Thursday 19th March, our top priorities include:
Supporting the children in our programs.
The support required by each of our programs will be different as each program is unique to its community and the specific needs of its children. We are exploring supporting measures which may include:
Increased food supplies
Increased cleaning equipment and supplies
Increased staff hours and medical assistance.
2. Support program staff
This crisis will require additional input, care and personal sacrifice from the staff of our program partners. We are committed to ensuring we do what we can to support the safety and wellbeing of the staff. This includes income stability, guidance, safety and knowledge sharing.
3. Assist with external needs
Where appropriate and financially viable BTO will endeavour to assist with the needs of children external to our existing programs, such as the street children from Alfajiri.
BTO as an organisation
Beyond the Orphanage is lucky to have an existing international workforce that operates remotely with high efficiency. Our operations will continue with business as usual, with the exception of additional focus and resources directed at the COVID response and support of our partners.
We know that in such economically tense times, giving can be difficult. We wholeheartedly thank the ongoing support of our community, without whom we would not be able to do what we do to protect the health and safety of the children of Beyond the Orphanage.
If you would like to help BTO and support the ongoing operations of our programs during this difficult time, you can donate here.
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As an organisation, we like to share the good news with our communities. We like to give you a glimpse of the beauty in our children, an insight into their resilience, and to share the many stories of kids thriving. However, right now we need your help. We are currently in the midst of a child protection...