The COVID-19 pandemic is of a scale most people alive today have never seen. The outbreak is claiming lives as the health system in Liberia struggles to contain the spread of the virus. The safety of vulnerable families and young people is paramount. Schools are closed, children are bored and families struggle to survive. The impact of the virus may be severe though, but the lack of sufficient food under quarantine and state of emergency may add insult to injury.
Amidst all of this, SOS Children’s Villages Liberia is rising to the challenge – to provide care to families and young people. Deploying innovative ways to care for over 1,500 at-risk children.
“We believe that any lockdown without an effective care and incentive or package for the most vulnerable, the situation will injure more families like the virus itself,” says SOS Emergency Preparedness and Response Focal person, Mr. Nehmah Yeanay.
Addressing residents of the community, Mr. Yeanay said health workers alone cannot fight the virus. For us to be safe we must ensure that we effectively follow all the preventive measures. “We must stay home, wash hands regularly, observe social distancing, as well as all other health protocols that the experts have told us to do,” he noted.
He demonstrated effective hand-washing before the eyes of everyone gathered. He lamented “we have been a resilient people, we are in this together, we have gone through this, this too shall come to pass,” he concluded.
Mr. Yeanay made the statement in an event when SOS Children’s Villages Liberia was delivery emergency support to FS families. The organisation provided buckets with faucets, bottles of liquid soap, flyers containing COVID-19 information and a 25kg rice to each of 212 FS families. Additionally, 210 partially resettled youth living in communities received each: a bucket with faucets, one bottle of liquid soap, flyers containing COVID-19 information and a cash transfer of sixty-five USD.
At the event also was Mrs. Victoria Zaway, Director for the department of Children Social Protection at the Ministry of Gender Children Social Protection who came to represent the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection – SOS Children’s Villages primary collaborating Government Ministry.
“As we go through this crisis, the government appeals to all Liberians to follow the advice of the health workers and our partners. Thanks to one of our dependable partner SOS Children’s Villages for the support to the communities,” said Mrs. Victoria Zaway. Ensuring that all of you are safe is a top priority. Now, that you are given this package, please assure to keep the children and yourselves safe, Mrs. Zaway added.
SOS Children’s Villages Liberia has been working with families in communities through the families strengthening programme since 2015. Over 35 years now the organisation has impacted the lives of many children through alternative care. Amos Jallah, a student of the United Methodist University said the organisation has always been there for them. Amos maintained that he rather take all the preventive measures than catching the virus. “Right now we all are in a crisis mode, it is scary. But the intervention of SOS Children’s Villages is worth commending,” he added.
He said for SOS Children’s Villages Liberia to think about supporting them during this period and not abandoning them is amazing. No one will ever want to risk their lives amidst corona virus. “The gesture is remarkable because there is going to be a possible lockdown of parts of the country, and how many families are prepared for this? Many do not have to survive. However, we are privileged to receive support from SOS Children’s Villages Liberia,” Amos noted.
As a long-standing partner to the government and people of Liberia, SOS Children’s Villages Liberia has implemented various concrete actions aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. The organisation is working with the government to provide training for over fifty (50) community social workers as well as support the printing of child-friendly information, education and communication (IEC) materials for COVID-19 awareness and prevention. Upon receiving training, these social workers will also receive protective gears and hygiene kits in order to protect them as they provide the much needed psycho-social support to the families, children and health workers.
“Because of the increasing infections among the population, we are not taking any chances. We are devoting our resources toward the fight against the virus, says Mr. Augustine Allieu, National Director, SOS Children’s Villages Liberia.
Written By: Joseph Joboe, SOS Brand & Communications Coordinator.