COVID-19 UPDATE FROM SOWHOPE PARTNERS
Around the world, COVID-19 is wreaking havoc in the lives of people. Those who were suffering due to poverty face even more struggles and danger due to unemployment and food shortages caused by lockdowns. At SowHope, we hear from our partners that people are truly suffering as their meager incomes dwindle within days, leaving no money to buy essentials vital for survival, such as food and water. SowHope focuses on sustainable development; however, this crisis calls for greater charity. In response, we have provided several partners with stimulus funds. Here are some brief updates from our partners and the women we serve.
Our project in Sierra Leone is a group agricultural project. Eighty women were allowed by local authorities to go to the fields, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, to farm as long as they social practiced social distancing. They were so grateful to be able to do this. Not only did they grow enough food for themselves, they were able to sell much needed produce in the community. Being in the group really encouraged the women to persevere through the pandemic.
Fatima, one of the beneficiaries, said, “Before I did not have tools or seeds to farm, but this group project has supported me with these and now I am able to farm. If not for this, I would not have been able to feed my family during this pandemic. Things are really desperate here and we have all benefited a lot. Thank you!”
The Nepal mask-making project we introduced in the Summer 2020 Newsletter has really taken off. The 17 women trained made over 45,000 masks that have sold very quickly. Ten of the women have started their own businesses and they have trained 4 more women. Some of them have moved to other cities, where there is even more opportunity to sell masks.
One woman, Harimaya, comes from a very poor background. She used to do physical labor, but like many because of COVID-19, she lost her job. Harimaya has to care for her husband, who is paralyzed from a construction accident, as well as his mentally ill brother. Through this project, she was trained in how to make masks and is now able to make money to support her family, all while working from home. She says, “I am so very happy to make masks! Thank you!”
Our partner in South Sudan, Rhoda, helped 65 women receive COVID-19 prevention awareness training, soap, food, and watering cans. The women went back to their own communities and spread the prevention awareness.
Mary – “SowHope is really a friend indeed; I was not expecting any help this year because the coronavirus distorted everything in the world. I am very happy to receive the food and the other hygiene kits provided by Rhoda. We have gained back our hope. The community at large has seen the love SowHope has for us women.”
Elizabeth – “This is the happiest I have been since knowing about the coronavirus! I was not expecting to even survive, but with the help of SowHope and Rhoda, my hope has risen, and I have helped others from the training to prevent the coronavirus from spreading in our village.”
Beneficiaries who received support said, “We want to give our gratitude and appreciation to SowHope. Thank you so much for remembering us at such a time as this. Some women lost family members due to starvation and mental illness, stemming from job loss. Many more women are still struggling for survival. These women are trying to keep their businesses alive. We are still struggling because of COVID-19.”
SowHope assisted 110 women tailoring students by providing food rations, masks, and cleaning supplies. Maturia, whose husband works as a day laborer, said, “I want to thank the leaders for providing the food during this pandemic situation. This will help us survive a whole month.” Amrutha, her husband, and two sons, are from a stone cutting tribe. She said, “During the lockdown, our work has been stopped. We were left jobless and were facing hard times. I am grateful to SowHope for providing food rations during these tough times.”
“We thank SowHope for helping 240 families during this epidemic”, says Bobita, our partner in Bangladesh. “We are so grateful for the help for the local people. Many did not get government or local assistance. This project was a big support for them. None of the women in the Tea Gardens area got COVID-19, but the people have no jobs because of the epidemic.”