Important update
about COVID-19

God continues to be our source of strength for every challenge and our refuge in times of trouble. And as always, keeping the children in our program safe and healthy is our top priority.

COVID-19 Q & A | Country-specific updates: Africa | Asia | Latin America | Middle East

OneChild has released emergency funds to help provide food and other necessities to the children in our program and their families during the global pandemic. 

For a glimpse of how children are being served during this time, see the inspiring stories below. You can help meet the urgent needs of kids in crisis with a gift to our Children’s Crisis Fund.

 

Bringing Hope During Crisis

Covid Stories Library on WheelsA Library on Wheels
By Belen Bocayes, Philippines Field Content Associate

With children at home 24/7 during the COVID-19 crisis, Child Champions are finding creative ways to meet their needs. Pastor Danilo Baquir of Kalubian Hope Center in the Philippines rides his bicycle around the community delivering books to children four days a week. Children choose a book or two from the selection that ranges from educational to story books about their favorite characters or shows like Star Wars or Nemo. Kids enjoy their books for four days then exchange them when Pastor Danilo comes back. Pastor Danilo says, “We should be having our summer camp for our kids by this time. But because of COVID-19, it did not push through. Instead, we thought of lending our books to them so they have something to do while they are at home. They are very happy and excited.” Hope Centers are thankful for the donations from their sponsors that provide children these books to enjoy.

 

Covid Stories Sharing Skills and SoapSharing Skills and Soap
By Donna Atola, Kenya Field Content Specialist

As numbers of new COVID-19 infections rise in Kenya, OneChild sponsored kids are using their skills to help combat the virus. At Rehema Hope Center (KE-044) in Malindi, Child Champions trained youth on how to make liquid soap. This is a skill they love, and they have extended their knowledge at home to help their families make soap. It also helped the Hope Center save on the expenses of purchasing detergents and enabled them to sell the surplus. Most families that OneChild ministers to in Malindi live on less than a dollar a day and cannot afford sufficient soap during this time. This motivated the youth at Rehema Hope Center to make 40 liters (around 10.5 gallons) of soap that was shared among 80 families. Three youths with expertise in soap making have been selected to train youths at other Hope Centers to help make soap for other sponsored kids in Malindi.

“It is essential to ensure that we share our talents and gifts with others,” says Japheth Menza, a Child Champion at Rehema Hope Center.

 

Honduras Angelica 12-year oldHelping Angelica Smile
By Josela Lopez, Honduras Field Content Specialist

Angelica Valladares is a 12-year-old who lives in Tamara, Francisco Morazan, Honduras. Life has been hard on Angelica, but she still has a big smile and empathy. Her 42-year-old dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease seven years ago, and her younger sister was born with a spinal tumor that necessitates a feeding tube. Recently, Angelica’s mom was hospitalized for a month due to a stomach ulcer but is now better. During the COVID-19 crisis, things have been even more difficult for Angelica’s family. Her mom works as a house cleaner, but due to the lockdown, she can’t provide for her family. But Child Champions who are constantly checking on kids learned about the family’s difficult situation, and the Hope Center immediately brought provisions for her family. This is what we believe in – bringing Hope in Hard Places and during difficult times.

 

Dominican Republic Courageous Child ChampionsCourageous Child Champions
By Kalis Parra, Dominican Republic Field Content Specialist

In the Dominican Republic we have 38 Hope Centers located in the most vulnerable areas of the country. Most of the families depend on the income they make day to day. The lockdown isn’t allowing them to go out to work, leading these families to extreme needs. In the middle of this dark and dangerous season where it seems like hope has ceased to exist, Child Champions continue bringing hope to provide for children and their families. Daily they go out into their communities to provide food and supplies for those most in need.

Child Champion Ruth Portalatin says, “We feel blessed and honored because in the middle of this worldly situation God is allowing us to continue being light in our communities. We want to thank OneChild and the sponsors because they are the bridge by which we can continue being a blessing for these families.”

We ask that sponsors don’t stop praying for and supporting us so we can continue blessing the families from our country.

 

Kenya, girls in impoverished areaMeeting Hidden Needs

The crisis funds sent by OneChild to the countries where we work is enabling Hope Centers to provide urgently needed food and other necessities to kids and their families. Some of these needs are so personal that we may not even think of them. In Kenya, girls in impoverished areas often receive feminine products from their schools. But with schools closed throughout the country girls have nowhere to get these crucial supplies.  Lacking these necessary products can impact girls’ health and even make them vulnerable to exploitation by men who promise to help with such basic necessities. So, along with food, Child Champions in Kenya are using the emergency funds to supply sanitary products – and a sense of dignity – to about 2,000 girls.

 

 


OneChild Global Health Q & A:

How is OneChild responding to the COVID-19 pandemic?

OneChild has been preparing children and their families to prevent the spread of disease long before this current outbreak began. Through our program, children have learned about the transmission of germs and have been taught the importance of hygiene practices like handwashing. They have also received medical checkups, nutritious food and supplements, and additional medical care when needed to help keep them healthy and better able to ward off illnesses.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, OneChild’s leaders have created an emergency response team to monitor conditions in the countries where we work and to support the Child Champions serving the children there. The team is closely communicating with our Country Directors who in turn are working with those at Hope Centers who are helping children and families.

Are Hope Centers still open?

Many countries where we work have put temporary “lockdowns” in place similar to those in many parts of the United States. As a result, most of our Hope Centers have had to temporarily suspend gathering, though some are still meeting with modified programs for children’s safety. Child Champions are visiting children and their families at home to distribute supplies and health information. In areas where movement is more restricted, Child Champions are finding innovative ways to stay in regular contact with our children and their families.

Have any children fallen ill?

There is one confirmed case of an enrolled child with COVID-19. A 10-year-old girl from Honduras has tested positive for the virus, along with her mother. Her condition is reported as stable. We are asking our global community to pray for a full recovery for this child and her family and God’s continued protection and provision for all our kids and Child Champions.

How have families been affected?

Families are facing severe risk of malnutrition due to COVID-19. Parents who depend on daily work just to buy food cannot meet basic needs during government-mandated lockdowns. Child Champions are rallying to get food to the families in crisis. Your gift to the Children’s Crisis Fund will bring relief to our kids and their families who urgently need help.

How will I know if my child is impacted?

If your child is directly impacted by this virus, you will personally be contacted by our staff.

How are my donations/sponsorship funds being used to help children during this outbreak?

In vital ways! The OneChild program is more important than ever to children and their families at this time. Even in countries where our Hope Centers have been forced to temporarily suspend gatherings, Child Champions are checking on the children and their families at home. Depending on the needs in their area, they are providing food packages and sanitizers, bringing lessons to the children, and health and hygiene information for the whole family. Country Directors are in close touch with Hope Center directors and Program Facilitators to monitor needs and concerns among the children we serve.

This all provides the kids in our program with a level of protection and security that children living in poverty seldom have. They are not lost or overlooked. They are known, loved and supported by the reassuring presence of their Child Champions.

Can I still send letters and cards to my child?

Yes! While disruption to global delivery systems due to COVID-19 means letters will take a little longer to reach the kids, and their responses will be slower, it’s still a great time to write to your sponsored child. Receiving a letter from you as soon as delivery becomes possible will be an enormous joy for your child at a time when he or she needs it most. Imagine the excitement when one of the first things delivered is a message of hope from you!

A great way to write is by using our online writing tool when you log in to your account.

Will my child’s communication to me be delayed?

Due to the global impact, your child’s letters may be delayed.

Do other countries have restrictions on public gatherings as we do in the U.S.?

A number of countries have placed restrictions on large gatherings and some have closed schools as well.

Are OneChild offices still open?

Field offices remain operational, though in many areas staff members are working remotely from home to comply with government directives. They are all continuing to provide care for the children we serve.

At our Colorado headquarters, to ensure the safety of our staff and to follow recommendations from state and federal authorities, our U.S. staff members are working from home. However, we are operating and are available for our Sponsors and Donors.

How can I communicate with OneChild?

You can still reach us at:

info@onechild.org (with general questions)
sponsors@onechild.org (with sponsorship questions)
By phone at 800.864.0200 (M-Th: 7am-5pm, F: 8am-12pm, MT)
By mail at: P.O. Box 62600, Colorado Springs, CO 80962

What if I can’t afford to continue my sponsorship?

Your sponsorship is significant to your child beyond the monthly support you provide, so, if needed, our staff can offer suggestions regarding short-term financial limitations or alternate donation possibilities.

We want to do all that we can to ensure your special relationship with your sponsored child continues at a time when your child most needs a sense of stability. If you have questions or concerns, please contact us at 800.864.0200 or sponsors@OneChild.org.

 


Country Updates

Africa

Ethiopia

No cases of COVID-19 have been reported among the children in the OneChild program. In some cases, the Hope Centers are a unique place of safety for the children in Ethiopia, so some activities are still taking place, such as hygiene lessons and food distribution while limiting the number of people in groups and observing safe practices. Some children are also able to borrow books from their Hope Centers. OneChild country leaders are communicating with Hope Center leadership twice daily by phone to monitor the situation. The cost of food has increased, but soap and sanitizer are becoming more available. Schools are closed, and large public gatherings such as sporting events have been prohibited. Hope Center level task forces have been created, and Child Champions are supporting families with food and essential supplies as needed and informing them of best health practices.

Kenya

No cases of COVID-19 have been reported among the children in the OneChild program. Food stocks are decreasing due to restricted movement within the country and imports not arriving as normal. Schools have been closed, public gatherings have been prohibited, and curfews put in place to limit movement. Because of lost work many families are struggling to afford basic necessities. Hope Centers throughout the country have temporarily suspended gathering, per government directives. Child Champions have begun visiting children in their homes whenever possible, while observing safety recommendations, to bring them school assignments, encourage their families, and ensure they are aware of any needs. They are also staying in touch by phone. In Turkana, Malindi and Kajiado, youth from the OneChild program are emerging as leaders in providing health and hygiene awareness to their communities.

Zimbabwe

No cases of COVID-19 have been reported among the children in the OneChild program. The outbreak has caused a high level of anxiety and uncertainty among Zimbabweans. The government has declared a lockdown limiting movement except to obtain food or medical care. Hope Centers throughout the country have temporarily suspended gathering, per government directives. Child Champions are staying in close contact with families and helping them use their phones to download apps to provide lessons for their children. Hope Centers have requested permission from the government to distribute food to the children and their families.

Asia

Bangladesh

No cases of COVID-19 have been reported among the children in the OneChild program. All areas of the country are currently in lockdown, and people are only permitted to leave their homes to obtain food or medical care. Hope Centers have temporarily suspended gathering, per government directives. Families are remaining in their homes, as directed. This is a great hardship for poor families who depend on finding daily labor to buy food. Child Champions are visiting families with care packages of food and cleaning supplies. They are also ensuring families are well informed on the best practices to stay healthy. In areas where they are not permitted to do home visits, Child Champions are staying in close touch with families by phone to pray for them and encourage the children to continue with their school work while at home. OneChild staff are already planning ways to assess the status of children’s education and mental and physical heath when the crisis abates, and to work closely with parents and Child Champions to help children in all of these areas.

Cambodia

No cases of COVID-19 have been reported among the children in the OneChild program. Schools are currently closed. Since Hope Centers in Cambodia are schools, they have been temporarily closed as well. Food supplies are normal, though prices have increased. Child Champions are visiting some of the children in their homes, and some teachers have been able to conduct classes with their students by Facebook live. Hope Centers have identified those families most in need of food assistance.

India

No cases of COVID-19 have been reported among the children in the OneChild program. A nationwide lockdown has been implemented. Food supplies remain normal, and the government has issued strict warnings against hording. All Hope Centers had been conducting awareness programs over the month prior to closure, and Child Champions are providing children with health information and helping students with their studies over the phone. Because many of the children in our program come from families dependent on daily wages to provide food, Hope Centers are working to reach them with basic food packages. Where Child Champions are restricted from visiting homes, they are working to get food to the families through retailers who are still permitted to make home deliveries. Hope Centers are in touch with families several times a week. Because children are not in school, Child Champions can spend more one-on-one time with them by phone to encourage them, and are developing stronger relationships with the children’s parents as well.

Nepal

No cases of COVID-19 have been reported among the children in the OneChild program. A nationwide lockdown is in place, and all Hope Center gatherings have been temporarily suspended in compliance with government directives. The government is distributing food during the lockdown. However, because the poorest families are the most affected by the economic impact of the lockdown, hunger is an immediate concern for the families we serve. Therefore, Hope Centers are preparing food packages of staples to support the children and their families during this time. Prior to the lockdown, Hope Centers were providing the children with training and awareness programs to help them stay healthy. Child Champions are talking by phone with children and their families several times a week to provide encouragement, check on their welfare, and learn of any needs.

Philippines

No cases of COVID-19 have been reported among the children in the OneChild program. Community quarantine has been ordered, meaning that only businesses providing basic necessities may remain open, and people must otherwise remain in their homes. Food supplies are stable, but there has been some panic buying of food. All schools are closed until further notice, and large gatherings are prohibited in most cities. All Hope Centers have temporarily suspended gathering per government directives. Child Champions are distributing packages of food, sanitation kits, and vitamin C to families in need of help. Hope Centers are also finding creative ways to continue supporting children’s education, including distributing home study materials and scripture lessons for encouragement, and communicating with families by text messages. The Hope Centers are delighted to see parents implementing many of the Hope Center activities and lessons at home, where not only the enrolled children but their siblings can all benefit. Some of the children have made encouragement cards to be delivered to COVID-19 patients and medical and military frontliners.

Latin America

Dominican Republic

No cases of COVID-19 have been reported among the children in the OneChild program. The father of one enrolled child has tested positive for COVID-19. Please pray for the rest of the family to remain healthy. Most businesses and all schools are closed, and Hope Centers have temporarily suspended gathering, per government directives. Child Champions are staying in touch with children by phone. OneChild Program Facilitators are continuously on call to provide any assistance that may be needed. Child Champions are distributing food to families in need due to lost jobs. Staff are also teaching church partners how to best use the available technology to stay connected with families in their program.

Haiti

No cases of COVID-19 have been reported among the children in the OneChild program. Airports, schools and factories have been closed. OneChild Hope Centers have temporarily suspended gathering, per government directives. Long before the outbreak, a communications strategy was put in place for each Hope Center cluster, which is being used to keep in contact during the crisis. Child Champions are staying in close touch with the children through home visits and by text messages, sending them lessons to do at home, and reminding them that God is present with them in their homes. Parents know they can contact the Health Agent from their local Hope Center if there is a concern regarding their child’s health. Hope Centers are also providing care packages of food and hygiene supplies to families in need.

Honduras

There has been one confirmed case of a child in our program with COVID-19 in Honduras. A 10-year-old girl has tested positive for the virus. Her mother has also tested positive, and test results for her siblings are pending. She has had a fever and headache, but her health is reported as stable. Dr. Melissa, OneChild’s medical director in Honduras. is following her case. Her Hope Center is also ensuring the family’s basic needs are met. Please pray for a full recovery for this precious child and her family.

In Honduras, martial law has been enacted, and all businesses except small shops selling essential items have been closed. Hope Centers have temporarily suspended gathering, per government directives. Food supplies in the country are adequate, but distribution is a challenge. Child Champions are communicating with children and their families remotely by phone and social media to encourage them. Two health coordinators specializing in medical and psychological concerns are in regular communication with Hope Centers and families to answer questions and serve as a resource. The psychological coordinator and her team are also available to do counseling by phone. Child Champions are distributing food and basic supplies to families who are in need due to lost wages.

Nicaragua

No cases of COVID-19 have been reported among the children in the OneChild program. Hope Center gatherings have been temporarily suspended for child safety. There are purchase limits on some items at markets to prevent hording. Medical staff have met with Child Champions at the Hope Centers for training to ensure they have factual information regarding the virus, and to visit the homes of children in the area who had medical needs of any kind. Hope Centers are supporting families by distributing food and hygiene kits and important health information. OneChild leadership in Nicaragua is also discussing ways to support medical teams with needed equipment.

Middle East

Jordan

No cases of COVID-19 have been reported among the children in the OneChild program. All schools and most businesses have been closed, and gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited. All Hope Centers have temporarily suspended gathering, per government directives. Child Champions have taught the children best health and hygiene practices. The government is well equipped to provide services, and food supplies remain normal, but OneChild will be providing supplemental food to families especially in need. Families may also contact their Hope Center staff to inform them of any special needs.

Lebanon

No cases of COVID-19 have been reported among the children in the OneChild program. Lebanon was already facing a severe financial crisis, which has been worsened by the current outbreak. All non-essential public and private institutions have been asked to close. All Hope Centers have temporarily suspended gathering, per government directives. People have been requested to stay at home. OneChild leadership is evaluating the best ways to serve families in light of national restrictions, and preparing food assistance for children and their families as the period of unemployment lengthens and creates increased needs.

 


March 12, 2020

At this time there are no known cases of COVID-19 among any of our children or Child Champions.

COVID-19 is in several countries where OneChild works, including Bangladesh, Cambodia, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, India, Nepal, Nicaragua, Lebanon, and the Philippines.

Thanks to the faithful support of our sponsors and donors, our children have been taught personal hygiene and disease prevention — such as the transmission of germs and proper hand washing. Their parents have also received training in disease prevention, treatment, and how to effectively care for sick family members.

In addition, all of our country offices have medical personnel available, and many have physicians on staff. Our Hope Center staff is also trained to help prevent and identify illnesses, facilitate care, and secure medicine and medical help when needed.

 

 

Our Hope Center leaders in all of our countries are proactively monitoring the situation and considering preventive measures such as suspending our program if needed.

Please continue to pray for our children, their families, and the Child Champions committed to helping them thrive. The help of our global community is crucial — especially during times like this.