Christians Respond To COVID-19’s Toll On The World’s Children
Mission, relief, and community development charities stand at the ready to act in crisis globally. They are always prepared for what form crisis will assume and what will be required to help others. With a pandemic of the scale of COVID 19, the response must be massive because the impact and ripple effect of deaths on the world and its children, especially those living in poverty, will be extreme.
Children will be orphaned. Families with precarious livelihoods or without the ability to find work will go hungry. People will be sick without access to hospitals. All scenarios that routinely occur throughout the world will be going on in staggering numbers.
In addition to the immediate impact of a pandemic of this scale, is the lasting turmoil. A virus like this threatens to reverse 30 years of poverty reduction that corporately Christians and others have been engaged in. In response, the Church and para-church groups have acted starting with prayer.
“We have launched the largest response in our history. Some boys will be stuck in child labour. Some girls will marry early and never return to school. The after-effects of a pandemic like this in other parts of the world will be long-lasting,” says Simon Lewchuk, senior policy analyst for World Vision Canada.
A child bride in India. An orphaned street child homeless in Brazil, the second-most highly infected country in the world. A hungry child amid Venezuela’s food shortages. Refugee children throughout the globe. Children like these are among the 85 million children in immediate danger from domestic violence from COVID 19 in the next three months, according to its recent report.
Although cases of COVID are not as high in the continent of Africa, reported cases throughout Asia and South America are growing. In countries where there is no healthcare system and access to safe drinking water, it is concerning to Christian groups like The Salvation Army Canada, World Vision Canada, Compassion Canada and SIM Canada because they stand ready in these places to help the hurting. Their frontline staff have been developing contingency plans and most already had them, since crises like famine and hurricanes are what they work amid.
“In the Ebola outbreak we learned lessons in preparedness for a crisis like this,” says Lewchuk. “Christians in Canada can pray, fund raise, and we should talk to our neighbours and especially our children about how deeply this influences people like a Syrian girl child in a refugee camp who does not have the same technology or government support we do. Some face violence and many isolation.”
The Salvation Army is working in 131 countries to address COVID.
Lt-Colonel Brenda Murray, who is the Director of World Missions, says the Church took immediate action: “In the last few weeks we have also funded nine Covid 19 rapid response projects which provide various items such as PPE equipment, COVID awareness posters and flyers, hand sanitation stations, hand sanitizer, food relief, hospital gowns and masks.”
The Salvation Army’s community sponsorship development projects work a little differently than WVC’s or others, because like SIM they are evangelical church-based. The Salvation Army works in 131 countries and has had to stop the activities of some of its development projects because of local government restrictions on holding gatherings.
As projects have clear target dates and objectives like helping reduce the child mortality rate the timeline of some will be extended and costs incurred, explains Lt-Colonel Murray.
Compassion has raised more than $200,000 but its immediate and long-term goal is $1.5 million to impact its child sponsorship enrolled children. It is encouraged by the actions of Christians and its workers in Colombia who have been delivering groceries to families.
In the early months of this pandemic this is how Christians and churches have responded to try to change the outcome for the world’s children, families and communities.
Please continue to pray for the children affected by COVID-19. Especially for the little ones in countries that don’t have access to healthcare and government systems like we do in the West.
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