Last night one of my biggest fears was realized. Haiti now has two confirmed cases of COVID-19. Friends, this is absolutely devastating on so many levels. No doubt, the entire world is struggling together to understand the ramifications of this virus: from The White House and UN to Wall Street and thousands of small business owners, every sector of society is struggling and trying to predict the ramifications. When global powers struggle to deal with this pandemic, just imagine what this means for developing nations who lack basic infrastructure. We have to act fast and swift. We must both prepare for and pray against the worst.
In light of the spread of COVID-19 around the globe, we want to share some insight on the difference between the risk and preparation in the US and in our partner communities. The local leaders we partner with have worked hard to care for their communities and prepare for the worst. Edward Magumba, our Uganda leader, and Jean Alix Paul, one of our Haitian leaders, have given us some good perspective on how the virus could affect their communities. The reality is that multi-family homes in crowded communities do not provide the option to social distance, and in these communities, extra hand washing and sanitation is not an option because of lack of consistent access to water. Another important factor is that many children in developing communities are cared for by grandparents or other elderly community members. So while children may not be at as much risk from the virus itself, they are at risk of losing their only support system. Haiti recently received its first two confirmed cases and has closed the border with the Dominican Republic, as well as restricting all ports and airports. Peru, with well over 200 confirmed cases, is on a complete lockdown. Schools and businesses are closed in at least five of our partner countries so far. Just as in the US, these measures are an important step in stopping the spread of the virus. The economic fallout will be significant, as it is throughout the globe. However, in the developing world, communities and individuals are far more vulnerable and far less insulated from situations like this. Hundreds of families depend on schools for their children’s only source of daily nutritious meals. There will be food shortages. Prices will rise significantly. Threats to a vulnerable workforce will grow. Healthcare will not be able to handle an outbreak of any kind. Just as small businesses are struggling here in the US, so will the small businesses started by recent graduates of our Family Empowerment Program.
With all of this in mind, we are working diligently with each of our leaders to prepare for the worst in their communities. They are stocking up on non-perishable foods, medical supplies, and other needed items. They are continuing to provide daily meals for their students, as well as figuring out the best possible ways to support families throughout their communities. It is our hope that these leaders will not only be able to preserve the incredible work they are doing, but also be able to act as a resource should the virus continue to spread.
How will we do this? How will we get through this?
- Remember the WHY. Together… we build, we serve, we love, we find any way possible to help. This is who we are. This is what we do. In good times and bad times, we believe generosity is the lifeblood.
- Choose to Take Action. We WILL get through this. We will rise above it, and we will look back and realize we had choices. Choices to hoard or to give; choices to live in fear or to love and be bold and take action. May we all choose to take action, small or big, it all matters.
- Be Generous and Wise. Please hear me, we all need grace. We understand that your life, our lives, have been altered; therefore, we all have to be wise with our resources. We can be bold and generous and remain wise. Saving is good. Cutting expenses is good. Maybe you are not able to give as much as you want to or hope to, but that’s okay. Give what you can; love the best you know how; and together we will help each other as best we can. After all, our greatest gift is one another.
- Be Strong and Trust God. No doubt, we can’t do this alone. We will trust in God to lead, provide and care. I’m thankful that it is not up to me. He is in control in the good times and also in the dark night of the soul. God is present and we can count on that. Be strong and know that no matter what happens God is our source of wisdom, confidence and peace.
Help One Now has set up an emergency fund for all of our countries. We have paused all programming around the world except for the most important elements – this could be for two weeks or two months, we just don’t know. However, we do know that we will have to respond and we will need the resources to respond quickly to save lives and care for our communities. In times of disaster, the key is to keep hope alive and care for our people, so that, when the disaster is over, we can once again focus on long-term development work.
Friends, I love you… Help One Now is here for each of you, Together, we will rally, we will pray, we will support, we will encourage, we will give as best we can. We need each other now more than ever. We’re taking this emergency one day at a time, and each day we will do our best to empower the leaders with whom we partner so they can take care of their communities!
Founder / CEO
If you would like to learn more about the important next steps we are taking to address the effects of COVID-19, Join us Monday at 12:30 pm EDT for a live, interactive webinar with CEO, Chris Marlow, and International Operations Director, Lamar Stockton!
They will also address any and all questions you submit during our live Q&A time!
Click HERE to register for the webinar!