We have all been deeply affected by the coronavirus pandemic over recent days and our operations at Adopt-A-Child are no exception. As I write this, I and many of my colleagues are working from home and much of what we do has had to be suspended. Here is an update of what is happening at the moment.
In Albania all major towns and cities are in lockdown, factories and restaurants closed and public transport is suspended. Everyone has to stay at home and people found to be on the street unnecessarily are being fined large amounts. As a result, all our programmes and churches have had to close temporarily, and our staff stay at home. Some of our staff can work from home, with only two remaining in the office to monitor emails, etc, but most (our cooks, drivers, teachers) have nothing they can do at home. Before the lockdown came into force we gave out as many food parcels and as much medical help as we could.
As always in these situations, it is the most vulnerable who suffer most and many families will struggle without the meals and medical help we provide on a weekly basis. There is no national health service in Albania and hospitals will struggle to cope with acute cases. Many will not have access to health care at all. It is expected that the Government will call on us and other organisations like ours to help in the coming days and we stand ready to do what we can to help those in need.
In Guatemala, there are very few cases at the moment, but here too the country has gone into lockdown to try and halt the spread of the infection. All events and gatherings have been stopped, travel restricted, our centres and churches temporarily closed and our staff told to stay at home. As in Albania, what medical services there are would struggle to cope with large numbers of seriously ill patients and there is little provision in the remote mountain areas.
Our national offices in the UK, USA, Germany and Canada will continue to operate our admin functions as normal, albeit that many of our staff will be working from home. Sponsorship payments and gifts will continue to be administered, ready for when the programmes are able to reopen when it will be vital to have the resources to support the programmes and provide any extra help needed to those who have been most affected. However, all our promotional meetings, talks, display stands, etc have had to be cancelled or postponed for the time being.
Continuing our support for the most vulnerable children and adults in Guatemala and Albania has never been more important, so if you are able to help please visit our website www.adopt-a-child.com and sponsor a child or support a project today.