Coronavirus and vulnerable children

The latest on the coronavirus, its effects on the world’s most vulnerable children, World Vision’s response, and how you can help.

 

Coronavirus Update


Now is the time to stand with the world’s most vulnerable children and their communities. The scale and spread of coronavirus COVID-19 is worrying for us all. The world is in an unprecedented position. We are all rightly concerned for our families, friends and communities during this difficult time. Here at World Vision, our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in the UK as we face this challenge. With colleagues in almost 100 countries, we’re watching the pandemic closely – and particularly the potential effects on the vulnerable children and communities we’re working alongside.

World Vision’s response

With your help, we will continue to keep the world’s most vulnerable children and their communities safe. With weaker healthcare and communications systems, the impact on children living in some of the world’s toughest and most dangerous places will be devastating. Thanks to our supporters, our colleagues across the globe are currently scaling up prevention measures in vulnerable communities.

  • We’re supporting local health centres and schools to prevent the spread of the virus.
  • We’re sharing “stay-healthy” messaging with public handwashing stations.
  • We’re distributing soap, sanitiser, and masks where appropriate.

These preventative measures have always been an important part of child sponsorship, because in places of extreme poverty, better health, water, sanitation and hygiene saves lives – and now, more than ever. It’s thanks to you and sponsors like you that this work is possible – and together we can continue to strengthen our efforts during this pandemic to improve children’s wellbeing.

Will you help us slow the spread of coronavirus in the world’s most vulnerable communities?

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Coronavirus and sponsored children

Currently, we’ve not heard of any sponsored children being directly affected by coronavirus.

If you have any questions about your sponsorship, or about World Vision’s work at this time, please do get in touch with us 01908 84 10 10 or email info@worldvision.org.uk.

Due to government restrictions, from Tuesday 24th March our office is closed apart from essential security and maintenance staff. This means we aren't able to process incoming mail or send letters. If we have your email address, then we'll switch our letter-based communication to email while restrictions are in place. If you need to get in touch with us, please email info@worldvision.org.uk or call 01908 84 10 10. As we're working remotely, we might take longer than usual to get back to you, but we'll do our best to respond as soon as we can.

 

We must not forget them.

While children are not currently considered the most vulnerable to this virus, they’re vulnerable to the secondary effects that it creates; there’s extra strain on health facilities and when caregivers get sick, children are left without proper care and protection.

We are in constant contact with our teams in communities across the world, and we will let sponsors know of any changes that could affect their sponsored child.

In the meantime, our sponsor community is providing vital funds and support to keep these vulnerable children safe.

Vulnerable communities

We need to urgently support children, families and communities living in the toughest and most dangerous places, especially in refugee camps and other fragile communities where the effect of an outbreak will be devastating.

We are most concerned about countries where:

  • The health systems and monitoring are weak.
  • Where people may already be suffering from diseases that are common among the poor, such as malaria, tuberculosis, pneumonia, HIV and AIDS, and Ebola.
  • Refugee communities live in close proximity, where social distancing is incredibly difficult and sanitation and healthcare provisions are often inadequate.
  • Where severe malnutrition compromises immune systems.

People living in these contexts are at much greater risk.


Will you donate today to help protect the most vulnerable children and families from the spread of COVID-19?

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Coronavirus FAQs

World Vision is active on the ground in nearly 100 countries and we are scaling up prevention and relief interventions in every country where we work.

World Vision’s health experts are deeply concerned about Africa, the conflict-affected Middle East and refugee and migrant populations caused by Venezuela’s economic crisis and the expulsion of Myanmar’s Rohingya refugees into Bangladesh.

Our response will focus initially on 17 countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil  [Venezuela border], Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, mainland China, Mongolia, Philippines, Senegal, South Africa, Syria, and Thailand.

Asia

World Vision is already hard at work distributing protection equipment and supplies in Asia, where the virus outbreak was first recorded, as well as rolling out health advice and psycho-social support to children, their caregivers, and communities.

In China, World Vision plans to reach 1.3 million people. Our staff have been working tirelessly to provide vital medical gear and equipment to fight the spread of Covid-19 and keep communities and health workers safe. We have also already provided 50,000 masks and thousands of bottles of sanitiser to schools, while over 46,000 more bottles of hand sanitiser and more than 280,000 bottles of disinfectant are ready for distribution to vulnerable families.

Meanwhile in Vietnam, our staff have worked closely with local radio stations to disseminate vital knowledge and skills, helping to ensure communities stay safe.

World Vision Mongolia has distributed food and hygiene supplies to more than 3,000 vulnerable households across 15 provinces.

In Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia, China, and Philippines, educational materials have been produced and distributed to schools, to complement the government's efforts to prevent the further spread of coronavirus, especially in the most vulnerable communities.

Our response focuses on three key areas:

1. Promoting preventative measures to stop or slow the spread of COVID-19

We’re promoting hand washing and respiratory hygiene amongst communities and households, and both working with community health workers and volunteers and using digital channels to share the messages more widely. We have also been setting up public handwashing stations and distributing soap, sanitiser and masks where appropriate.

2. Supporting health systems and workers

We have been providing personal protective equipment (e.g. masks and gowns) and treatment supplies (e.g. thermometers); training and equipping community health workers to help with home care for the sick, to share stay-healthy messaging, and to help run isolation centres and transport for the sick.

3. Supporting children impacted by COVID-19

Education: Including, supporting authorities to ensure safe school operations (promoting procedures for staff and students that become unwell, information sharing and targeted age-specific health education), supporting children, families and teachers to continue education if schools are closed (e.g. home learning materials/activity packs).

Child Protection: Including, awareness-raising with Child Protection/social workers; preventing separation and stigmatisation of children and caregivers during treatment and isolation; psychological first aid for children and caregivers; monitoring and responding to increases in child labour, begging, abuse, sexual violence, or neglect.

Livelihoods: Including providing cash and vouchers, and distributing food and care packs for people in isolation.

World Vision has presence in almost 100 countries around the world. We work with the most vulnerable children and communities facing the challenges created by poverty and injustice.

 

Partnerships with faith leaders: Our work is inspired by our Christian faith, and our partnerships with faith and community leaders are critical as we join hands to strengthen preparedness, change behaviour and protect children and other vulnerable people.

Our Channels of Hope programme already equips faith leaders to support their communities when epidemics arise. Our experience with Ebola and Zika viruses has shown that when trusted faith leaders engage with their communities, real breakthroughs can be achieved in slowing the spread of disease.

We’re working alongside 7,000 faith leaders in 80 countries, sharing messages about prevention. And we know that this community approach is effective.

 

Child Sponsorship:Our Child Sponsorship model empowers communities to support vulnerable children and their families through sustainable approaches to build child-wellbeing.

We employ local staff members and volunteers who usually live within or close to the communities where they work. They are seen as friends, confidents, encouragers and trustworthy partners which is vital during a pandemic response.

Our staff are working with their local communities to amplify prevention and control messages whilst supporting the protection of children. This may involve supporting education whilst schools are closed, preventing separation of children from their caregivers during treatment and isolation, and delivering livelihood activities and cash, food and care packs to people in isolation.

  • Stay connected: Email your child to let them know that you are thinking of and/or praying for them (please note that in affected areas, there may be a delay in your reply)
  • Donate to support World Vision’s Global Health Emergency Response to help fund life-saving COVID-19 preventions and interventions in the places that need them most.
  • Stay informed: We’ll keep you updated here with the latest developments in our communities. Visit the World Health Organisation for up to date global health recommendations and information.
  • Pray for vulnerable children and their communities impacted by COVID-19

 

Any other questions?

If you have any other questions about your sponsorship, or about World Vision’s work at this time, please do get in touch with us 01908 84 10 10 or email info@worldvision.org.uk.

You’ll appreciate with current guidance, most of our staff are currently working from home, so it’s difficult for us to open and respond to post.