All 25 countries where we currently work are striving to slow the spread of the coronavirus through restrictions on public gatherings or quarantines. (You can see how each country where we work is impacted by government-enforced restrictions here.)
In response to the unprecedented circumstances of the pandemic, along with our Compassion counterparts worldwide, we have decided that during the COVID-19 pandemic, funds previously used at the child development centres can now be directed as needed to children and their families for necessities like food, clean water, shelter, clothing, household items, and even medical care and trauma counseling.
[Update as of April 8, 2020 at 9:28 a.m.]
Frequently Asked Questions
What is causing this change in how my donations are used?
All of the of the countries where Compassion serves children are striving to slow the spread of the coronavirus through restrictions on public gatherings or quarantines. While many child development centres are temporarily closed to group activities, that does not mean all programmatic activities and expenses have stopped. Your monthly support is still vital in this season because the local churches are striving to provide a basic level of program to all the registered children and their families. When they can, local church staff members are visiting homes to check on the welfare of children and their families. They may be delivering medical supplies, hygiene kits, extra food, water and other resources to help during this time of crisis.
How is this different than how my donations were used before?
Previously, your sponsorship support funds were primarily used for church-based program activities to provide snacks and meals, medical care and opportunities to encourage the healthy development of all aspects of a child — spiritually, physically, socially, emotionally, and even economically. During this season when quarantines prevent public gatherings at the local church, your funds are being used to meet individual urgent and critical needs of the families of children registered in the program. This personalized approach continues our commitment to holistic child development by prioritizes unmet urgent needs during this COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these basic needs include household necessities like food, soap, detergent, hygiene kits and other tangible resources to care for and protect children and their families.
How is this funding different than the extra funding that I already provide (POC, Med, etc.)?
When child sponsorship donations are used at the local church child development center your money goes further. When those same funds are used to meet the needs of entire families, in addition to the registered children, the money doesn’t go as far. Right now, both your child support donations and extra donations are needed during this pandemic crisis.
For what timeframe do you believe donations will be used in this way?
As long as the COVID-19 pandemic prevents public gatherings at the church, we plan to empower the local church with this home-based approach to provide a basic level of care and support and to meet critical needs.
How are you determining which family members receive this support?
The local church staff are working hard to provide a basic level of program to all beneficiaries registered in our program and prioritize funding on the most vulnerable. We trust the local church to prioritize the most vulnerable children/families, while attempting to maintain contact with all families of children in the program (on average around 280 families per church).
What are some examples of you meeting critical needs of beneficiaries and their family members? Extra food? Medical Support, etc.?
Funds previously used at the child development centers can now be redirected as needed to children and their families for necessities like food, clean water, shelter, clothing, household items, and even medical care and trauma counseling. For example, in Honduras, local church partners came up with an emergency plan to purchase, pack and deliver groceries and other essential supplies to vulnerable families. In El Salvador, church staff members have delivered bottled water, non-perishable food items and hand sanitizer to family members who are unable to obtain/afford these items on their own. And in other countries, those who are ill are being supported with medicine, vitamins and health advice.
How are staff members engaging with the beneficiaries? Are they visiting homes?
In some cases where visits are permitted and staff do not put themselves or others in harm’s way to do so, local church staff members are visiting homes to check on the welfare of children and their families. When/where they cannot make personal home visits, staff are using cell phones, texting, What’s App and social media to conduct regular welfare checkups.
Does this mean that some beneficiaries will not receive anything during this time since we are focusing on urgent/critical needs?
That’s possible, but that is not our intention. We are trusting the local church to know the needs of the families, maintain good relationships with all families, and make critical decisions about the best use of donations to meet the most important critical needs.
Will fund allocation go back to normal once beneficiaries are able to attend the program at their centre again?
Yes. As soon as and the children can safely return to attending the local church child development centres, fund allocation will return to normal. We will be happy to share this news with you at that time.
Is Compassion providing masks or helping beneficiaries and family members get tested for COVID-19 as needed?
Compassion staff are taking every precaution to protect the children and their families in our program. As a regular part of our ministry, we teach healthy hygiene practices to children in our program (and moms in our survival program), which reduces the spread of illness. Where we can, we are also providing hygiene kits to families. Currently, Compassion is not providing masks.
It is a sad reality that in the majority of countries where we work, there is a lack of strong medical centers and testing facilities. Because of this, we anticipate that COVID-19 testing in developing countries will not occur at same rate as the developed world. It will likely be difficult for us to know the true impact of COVID-19 on our program. If we believe any children in our program are directly impacted by coronavirus, we will do everything in our power to get them tested and the medical treatment they need.
Can I give additional support to help protect children from COVID-19?
Thank you for your heart and willingness to help. A pandemic like COVID-19 plus the challenges of poverty equals disaster. Our local church workers around the world are courageously delivering essential items to desperate children and families. You can help provide food, water and medical support by giving toward Compassion’s Disaster Relief Fund. Thank you so much for your willing heart!