Covid Response in Asia
Since February how we have served has changed as we have pivoted to focus on:
1) Taking care of our national partners to make sure they remain well and are able to serve, and
2) Enabling our partners to also pivot and serve in new ways in response to the pandemic.
Kaifa assisted a number of our national partners who lost their jobs in January and the months that followed due to the pandemic. Through the generosity of our partners in the US and Hong Kong, Kaifa provided funds for rent and food to the families of our partners across India, Thailand, and Myanmar for a combined total of 21 months.
For the most part, the governments in Asia have done quite well in their effort to inform the public about Covid prevention. However, these information campaigns often do not reach and at times are not practical for marginalized populations. One of our partners in Yangon, Benjamin, worked together with Myanmar health authorities to develop an information campaign for those in the slums and undeveloped areas.
Through a donor in Hong Kong, we were able to provide a significant amount of PPE (personal protective equipment) for needs in Myanmar. Benjamin was able to distribute PPE in the slums where he serves and also had enough to give a gift to the district government. Additionally, a significant amount also went to Daniel, another of our partners in Bago, Myanmar, who was then able to provide PPE for Endless Joy teachers and staff, some Endless Joy students and their families, as well as to give a significant gift to the Bago City Hospital.
When the worst economic impact hit Myanmar and markets were closed, we provided over 100,000 meals to 120 families in the slums. These meals consisted of the Myanmar staples of rice, oil and beans, along with protein rich eggs, dried fish, protein cakes and milk powder. Hygiene products were also provided such as antibacterial soap, detergents, and bath soap.
Covid 19 also provided new opportunities. In the recent past our partners have attempted to introduce urban agriculture to people in the slums. However, when people are looking for food tomorrow, a concept that required a few weeks for something to grow never really took off. Covid provided an opportunity to launch the concept once again as people without jobs have a new perceived need and they now have time.
Cornerstone Learning Center was also launched in July building on the good will that has been widely developed in Yangon during this time of crisis. Benjamin has a vision to provide these children education and then as they grow into their teens to begin providing vocational training like motorbike repair, air conditioning repair, sewing, etc. This is a significant opportunity to lift these children out of the cycle of poverty.