Coronavirus Update

The latest news from the field.

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Albania

On March 25th the government of Albania declared COVID19 to be a 'national catastrophy' and imposed a 16-hour curfew on all residents. From Monday 30th March only one person per family will be allowed out to do grocery shopping or run errands for one hour a day, a process that requires applying online for a permit and the production of a valid Albanian ID card, according to Exit News.

Schools and Universities remain closed, but our scholarship beneficiaries who have the means, have the opportunity to continue their studies online. We have been continuing to supply food packages to sponsored families, while adhering to strict safety regulations.

Bulgaria

Like other countries in Europe, Bulgaria has introduced strict curbs on travel between cities and abroad and closed schools and restaurants. But in some Roma neighbourhoods, Reuters reports, authorities have gone further by cordoning off Roma areas within city limits, sometimes erecting makeshift walls to block roads. Some Roma say local policies stem from prejudice - read more here.

We were able to run a special Easter delivery to the disabled in our Elder Care programme containing food and Christian literature, and we continue to provide meals for the homeless.

Romania

MWB’s work: There are 33 elderly people who live in severe poverty who are supported through Senior Care in Romania. Throughout this coronavirus crisis, so far MWB have been able to continue to provide them with regular food and hygiene supplies. They have also been connected with their local church. The coordinators keep in contact with them all the time through phone calls, and the churches also do. Young people (volunteers) from the churches are ready to do some shopping for them while ensuring they follow the restrictions put in place by the government. The coordinators report that every single elderly beneficiary has expressed their appreciation towards the Mission, saying that they feel they are not alone or abandoned anymore.

Bosnia-Herzegovina

MWB Family sponsorship staff are now working from home, and are in touch with beneficiaries on the phone or online, to encourage them and offer emotional and spiritual support. It is still possible to purchase agricultural items and seeds online, so this is an area of support, too, that MWB Bosnia-Herzegovina has been able to continue.

There are three Soup Kitchens that the Mission runs in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in Zenica, Glamoc and Prijedor, serving a total of 180 people who live in poverty. Usually beneficiaries receive a hot meal every day, but because of the coronavirus restrictions, in two of the Soup kitchens, a week’s worth of packaged food is provided each week, and in the third Soup Kitchen, the elderly receive a warm meal in a box every day that is left on their doorstep.

Moldova

When meetings were banned across the country, the Mission continued to cook food for Soup Kitchen and Street Mercy beneficiaries for as was possible (for one or two weeks, depending on the region). The warm food was either distributed to people’s homes or people were invited to come and collect it.

As the restrictions grew more limiting, changes had to be made again. From March 30, all Soup Kitchens in Moldova will deliver packages of food products instead of warm food. The Street Mercy beneficiaries will be given packages of tinned food that do not require cooking, prepared by the church.

The Mission staff in Moldova are grateful to God that they have no cases of coronavirus among their beneficiaries or staff this far. They say, “We thank God that despite all the turmoil, according to our country manager, Tudor Lungu, we were able to provide the families and children in our programmes with enough food for the next four to six weeks. We are praying for possibilities to provide more help later on, supporting people in distress to survive through this period with hope.”

Ukraine

From On March 25, Ukraine's government declared a national emergency across the country.  The global crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic has been acutely felt in eastern Ukraine, where the line of contact between government-controlled territory and regions held by Russia-backed separatist formations has become even more complicated than usual. Read more here.

While restrictions on gatherings are being maintained at present, it is possible that we will be able to run day-trips or camps for children in late summer or early Autumn.

£30 can help to provide essential care for vulnerable families and children in Eastern Europe.

Supporting people who need it most

10,877 

vulnerable children and 2304 familes are currently enrolled on our sponsorship schemes.

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