Mike and Marianne Botting’s personal update, in which they also mention the outreach in Pader.
Emmanuel International is reaching out in our project countries to assist people with helping to protect themselves through providing information and/or equipment, and also helping those who are in need as a result of the actions taken to contain the virus.
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EI Brazil is helping partner churches provide food packages to poor people who cannot earn any money because of social isolation. The 7th Presbyterian Church is distributing food packages to 100 waste and paper pickers.
Fourteen women, who attend the Sewing Classes at the Águas Formosas PROPAC Day Care Center, started to sew 5,000 masks, according to the models provided by the Health Department, to be distributed at no cost to the local hospital staff, health centres and the people in general. PROPAC will provide food packages to them in return for their labour.
EI Brazil sent funds to help Terena indigenous people set up up health check points at village entrances in two areas. Hand sanitizer, cleaning materials, and food packages were provided.
Our missionaries in Davao City are on very strict quarantine but have people who help them buy groceries. They were also able to help 16 families from a very poor community not very far from them by repacking a sack of rice and eggs and dropping off to a member of their small group for house to house distribution. No one who is not from their area is allowed to enter.
“We don’t have food on the table,” read one distressed message from a pedicab driver living near the Quezon City dump. As day labourers, no work means no pay. Emmanuel International Philippines is partnering with churches in the informal settlements of squatters around the city dump. Having been in lockdown since the start of COVID in mid-March, as the Philippines starts to slowly lift restrictions, EI Philippines has begun distributing food packages in these Quezon City dump settlements. The food packages are going not only to church member families but also to a neighbouring family of each church member. In this way, the churches are demonstrating practically the message of hope and life in Jesus’ gift of love.
We have been strategizing how best to help the local churches at this time. We are continuing with and scaling up teaching on COVID prevention and distribution of the handwashing buckets, soap and posters through our partner churches and through the groups in the villages where we have projects. Last week we developed a pamphlet (“Corona and Faith”) and are distributing 10,000 of them to the 350 Tanzania Assemblies of God churches in our area. Churches are continuing to meet and we are doing all we can to encourage churches to practice social distancing and good handwashing. We also use the opportunity to teach pastors about the virus, how people can protect themselves and strengthen their faith and witness during this time.
Upendo wa Mama group women are working on sewing fabric face masks which are being sold locally and distributed through other NGO’s. They have also taught others to make them as there is a shortage of masks.
The Iringa team had the great blessing to educate people in the rural areas about the coronavirus. Mid-April they went to educate people at Mafuluto village and found that many people in rural areas do not have accurate information on the coronavirus and how to protect themselves. They will continue to educate other communities they work with, though at the moment, the staff of EI in Iringa are working from home.
As we considered how to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, and those who have been affected by the preventative lock-down measures, we identified two groups we want to assist: our own staff, who are struggling with food prices which have sometimes tripled; and church leaders (Reverends, Catechists, Pastors, etc.) who usually depend on a combination of agriculture or business together with the weekly offerings of their congregations. With church services currently prohibited, and with many churches not having means to collect offerings electronically, these church leaders have lost an important source of income – while also facing the same food price increases. EIUganda’s COVID-19 response seeks to support these church leaders and their families with a one-time gift of food and soap; while providing additional financial support to our staff for 4 months.