July 24, 2020
By Christine Hills
PWRDF continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by supporting our partners in Canada and around the world. Thanks to our generous donors, PWRDF is allocating an additional $111,000 to support partners’ initiatives.
A gift of $70,000 from Calgarian Richard Bird, through the Ptarmigan Foundation, will fund PWRDF partner the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) as it supports people living in the Kakuma refugee camp. NCCK is using this grant to purchase much needed equipment such as pulse oximeters, digital blood pressure machines, electric suction machines, non-contact thermometer guns, oxygen concentrators, oxygen cylinders, oxygen gauges and personal protective equipment (PPE) such as N95 masks, reusable face shields and disposable gowns. In partnership with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and other partners, the equipment will be shared with local Kenyan health partners serving the refugee and host communities in Kakuma. The program will run until October 2020.
Long-time PWRDF partner UBINIG has been monitoring the situation in Bangladesh at the national level and with those in its program area. Health protection supports and food support for families who have lost their sources of income are paramount. Farmers, traditional birth attendants, garment workers, domestic workers and weavers have all been affected. UBINIG is responding to the needs of these community members and to pregnant and breastfeeding women, and students.
A grant of $11,000 was used to support 965 families who received soap, masks, food items and seeds that will be given to Nayakrishi farmers who have expressed the need. As well, farmers who are experiencing problems in selling their crops will receive support. The distribution began May 1 and continued through the end of June. A volunteer group of farmers, women’s organization members and Dai Mas distributed the equipment through UBINIG centres.
“I take this opportunity to thank PWRDF on behalf of UBINIG and all the community members receiving the support of food, seeds and health protection items at the time of their need,” writes UBINIG Executive Director Farida Akhter. “We know it is never enough but it is always very important to show our solidarity with them when they are in need.”
The Diocese of Edmonton is supplementing its outreach programming to local Indigenous communities, specifically to ensure support and accompaniment to Indigenous women, many of whom are leaving abusive relationships and are trying to get off of the streets. Rev. Lori Inkster plans to continue the implementation of a birth and doula service, work that is critical at this time. Those in the Diocese have heard and witnessed many heart-rending stories from the front lines in recent weeks. A PWRDF grant of $5,000, combined with funds from the Diocese of Edmonton, will address some of the identified needs. Says Bishop of Edmonton Jane Alexander, “There are some very desperate people here in need of help.”
PWRDF is also providing COVID-19 support for displaced people in Unity State, South Sudan. This project aims to support the 500 families who have been receiving monthly food distributions from SSUDRA (The Episcopal Church of South Sudan), PWRDF and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
From June 1, 2020 until October 31, 2020, this project will increase access to WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) services as well as other disease preparedness and prevention for better health. The project will focus on 522 internally displaced households in Rubkona and Bentiu, South Sudan. Community health promoters will reach displaced community members with hygiene and sanitation awareness through radio, promotion materials and megaphones, and 522 households will receive soap each month, plus containers for water collection and storage, and a bucket with taps for hand washing. PWRDF is contributing $15,000 to this $40,000-project, with the remaining funds coming from the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada.
Misinformation and fear are running rampant in the rural community of Haut Saint-Marc, Haiti due to COVID-19. People distrust their government and fear visiting the hospital for medical attention, believing conspiracy theories that the government will secretly end the lives of those appearing with Covid-19 or related symptoms. The pandemic has created concerns for people who work in health care everywhere in Haiti, especially for staff without appropriate PPE. Dispensary leaders came together with leadership from Rayjon Share Care Haiti (RSCH) of Sarnia, Ont., to brainstorm a solution.
In partnership with RSCH/RSC and the local municipal government CASEC, the Haitian Women’s Federation of Saint-Marc organized strong teams to help during this difficult time. Staff and volunteers received training at the Hospital of Saint-Nicolas to provide educational training and awareness about COVID-19 prevention. PWRDF has contributed $10,000 to the project, which will also provide appropriate PPE to dispensary staff and distribute hygiene products and medication to patients.
To donate to PWRDF’s COVID-19 emergency response, go to pwrdf.org/give-today. Click on Emergency Response, then indicate COVID-19 in the memo field. You can also click on the All Mothers and Children Count COVID-19 Extension to support that response. You may also donate by phone by calling toll-free 1-(866) 308-7973 or mail a cheque to PWRDF, 80 Hayden Street, Toronto, M4Y 3G2.