Plan International UK has launched an emergency appeal calling on the UK public to support its lifesaving work with vulnerable children and their families affected by the coronavirus crisis around the world.
As the world faces the worst health crisis of a generation, the charity is deeply concerned about the effects on children, especially girls, in the world’s poorest communities where the impact of the virus could be catastrophic. Many children and their families are living without access to soap and running water, with scarcely enough food to survive from day to day. For most, self-isolation simply isn’t an option.
Although children are thought to be less severely affected by the virus itself, Plan International’s work in previous health crises like Ebola shows they are likely to suffer severe long-term effects. Economic stress on families can lead children to be at high risk of exploitation and child labour, funds are often diverted from routine health services that are already difficult to access, and children who lose access to school may never return.
Plan International staff are working in over 75 countries to respond to the crisis, including in large refugee camps where families who have been displaced as a result of conflict or disaster live in extremely cramped conditions where the virus could spread rapidly.
Rose Caldwell, Chief Executive at Plan International UK, said:
“The coronavirus crisis is having a devastating impact on families all over the world, and for children in the world’s most vulnerable communities, the challenge couldn’t be greater.
“Our dedicated staff are already providing urgent humanitarian support, including access to clean water and sanitation, hygiene kits and crucial public health information. We’re also expanding the support we provide in refugee camps where healthcare systems are most fragile. And we’re working hard to find new and immediate ways for children to keep on learning even when they can’t go to school.
“Sadly, our experience shows us that girls and young women are often at even higher risk during health crises. They face an increased risk of sexual violence and exploitation. They are less likely than boys to continue getting some kind of education as they take on caring responsibilities in the home.
“Now more than ever, we must come together as a global community. We urge the UK public to please donate today and help support families across the world to face this unprecedented crisis.”
Plan International UK is calling on supporters and partners to donate today to the charity’s Coronavirus: Children’s Emergency Appeal, with players of People’s Postcode Lottery among those to have already pledged their support. Your donation will help provide life-saving support to children and families affected by the crisis.
£12 could provide a hygiene kit for a girl. The packages include soap, a toothbrush, toothpaste and sanitary products so girls can stay healthy and manage their periods safely.
£21.25 could provide five children with home learning materials and a radio, so they can hear lessons being broadcast by their teachers even if they can’t attend school.
£32 could buy essential kitchen cleaning and hygiene items for two families in Mali. These household items could help keep children safe from the spread of disease.
£64.79 could pay to install one handing washing facility with buckets and taps in a refugee camp in Cameroon, so children can keep their hands clean and prevent themselves and their families from getting sick.
To make a vital donation to Plan International UK visit plan-uk.org/coronavirus