Many nations are currently experiencing the third wave of COVID-19, including new strains of the virus. Restrictions and lockdowns are common place not only here in Australia, but also in the countries where Compelled By Love (CBL) work - eSwatini (formerly Swaziland), India, Rwanda and Sri Lanka.
In these countries, many people earn a living as day labourers, getting paid on a daily basis. If they are unable to work, their families have zero income, and there are no government safety nets. This has left many families starving, literally going without food.
We know that in order to remain safe, masks make a huge difference. In many places, masks are mandatory at school, as is temperature checking. But many schools - particularly those in rural areas - do not have the resources to purchase enough thermometers, and there are tens of thousands of students that because of poverty, cannot afford a mask. This puts lives at risk, as well as interrupting education due to the time it takes to test temperatures - some schools have only one thermometer and over 2,000 students.
Hospitals and treatment centres are being overwhelmed - there aren't enough beds and enough equipment to treat the many COVID-19 cases. Without access to medical treatment, lives are being lost that could otherwise be saved.
It costs about $3 to feed an individual for a day, $15 to feed a family of five for a day,
$105 to feed a family of five for a week.
It costs about $1 to purchase a facemask for a student, and $60 to purchase a thermometer.
An oxygen cylinder is about $585.
What could you do? 1 mask? 10 masks? 100 masks? Feed a family for a day, or a week?
Whatever your capacity, it's in all contributing together that we'll be able to have a massive impact - each food parcel, each mask, not only provides for practical needs, it also gives people dignity and value and a sense of worth - knowing that someone is thinking about them, that someone cares about them.
You Can Join Us
Here's What We're Doing
Through our local partners, we're providing food packs for the most vulnerable families, face masks to students and thermometers to schools, and medical equipment to hospitals and treatment centres. As countries look to move forward, we'll also be providing livelihood support to help families restore and grow businesses and earn income.
Some feedback from our
food distributions in Rwanda
“I cannot get enough words to express my gratitude to those who thought of us and gave us food. I am a genocide survivor. There are five of us living together at home, and I am providing for everyone when I worked – even in the normal situation, I hardly can survive. When the lockdown started, I got really worried about how things will go. Surprisingly, I was contacted through my community small group leader and given food. It was not me alone, but many of us were given food. I am happy that we were helped to get through the lockdown. I praise God.”
“The lockdown was a time where we could not get any work – all work was closed. Movement was not allowed and we are only able to get food at home when my husband or I have worked. I was happy to receive food which helped us to survive during the lockdown. I could not figure out how my children would survive. We praise God we got food during the time when we were hopeless.”
I usually work for other people and sell avocados to get some food for me and my grandchildren. Because of the lockdown, I wasn’t allowed to go out to buy and sell avocados or work for others to get some money. I live with my two grandchildren and for the last few days, my grandchildren were being fed by my neighbours as I didn’t have anything to cook. The food distribution came when I and my grandchildren were in a critical situation, since I wasn’t allowed to go out to work for several weeks. I can’t find the right words to express how I feel now, and to appreciate what CARSA and its partners have done for me. As a grandmother, I was hopeless and didn’t know how to explain to my grandchildren why I wasn’t cooking for them. Now, I have enough food for at least the next three weeks. I have received rice, beans, maize flour, porridge flour, sugar as well as cooking oil - good quality sunflower oil, this is my first time to have this kind of cooking oil. Once again thanks to whoever has donated money to support me and my grandchildren, may God bless you very much for thinking about someone whom you don’t even know and have never met.
Some feedback from our mask and
themometer distributions in Rwanda
Once we went to the schools, those schools in rural places where the kids were coming from really poor areas, we saw the masks they did have were just useless, they were too old. One mask can be shared with eight people in the whole family. The kids take the mask to school. Then they come home and their dad takes the same mask to go and meet someone and so on. When we saw this happening, it was helpful to understand how great the need was. Testing temperatures was taking such a long time before starting classes. Even some school leaders said they didn’t test the students because if they do this, at the end of the week they will find themselves not having covered all the subjects that were planned. It’s really a risk. If someone is there with a fever, they can infect the whole class, the whole school. You can see how a small thing can be helpful.
Sylvestre Ngendahayo, CARSA Project Manager
We really thank CARSA and its partners for responding positively to our call. This pandemic is a global issue, which requires a collaboration and partnership to deal with it. The government has done a lot to help protecting its people but as you know it can’t afford everything needed alone. CARSA has been doing a good work in trauma healing, reconciliation and peace building among the youth in secondary schools. This time you have intervened in saving lives of youth you work with. The support provided shows the love and how much you care for people you serve. Masks and thermometers you have given will make a big difference in preventing the infection and spread of the pandemic among the communities of Muhanga district.
Vice Mayor of Muhanga District in charge of Social Affairs
When things get tough, people think only about themselves, but it’s amazing to see that there are still people driven by love, people who can think about forsaken people like us in a very remote place. We thank CARSA and Its supporters for providing thermometers and masks for just protecting our children during this difficult period. Though our kids were going to school, we were very concerned that they might be infected by COVID-19 and infect the whole family once they are back in their respective families. On behalf of other parents, I thank you very much for the help you provided.
Parent representative, Gihara Secondary School
I used to wear an old mask that I picked from a rubbish bin, but I’m happy that I’ve got a new mask.
Thank you very much for caring for us.
Student from Groupe Scolaire Horezo
I have been sharing one old facemask with my parents and siblings. But I’m happy that I’ve got my own that I will be wearing to protect myself against this terrifying pandemic COVID-19. We pray that God keeps blessing you so that you will be able to help my classmates who couldn’t get a new mask.
Student from Groupe Scolaire Munini
I was always worried and afraid to be infected with COVID-19 whenever I entered the class for teaching students who were not wearing the appropriate facemasks. Most of them had one old facemask, which they had been using for more than 3 months. We thank CARSA and its partners for thinking about these students and teachers who were at high risk.
Céléstin, a teacher from Groupe Scolaire Nyabisindu
I’m happy to receive my own mask, which will help me to protect myself against COVID-19. The mask will help me to be confident and comfortable to study well. My brother and I have been using one mask. We attend class at different times, when he goes to school in the morning, I go in the afternoon; and we use to exchange the mask on the way when we met.
Anita, ten year old student from Groupe Scolaire Mpushi
We have been touched by this support of thermometers and facemasks from CARSA. We have been struggling to support our students but in vain. We have some students who couldn’t attend school because they couldn’t find a facemask. Your support is not only helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among students, but also permit some students to attend school and study safely. We would like to thank you and those who donated, contributed to have this happen.
Etienne, head teacher of Groupe Scolaire Nyarusange