Stand By Me

The impact of the coronavirus outbreak on Stand by Me's work

How is the coronavirus affecting the children in Stand by Me’s care and our work around the world?

Our attention at Stand by Me has been focused on the children and families in our care who live in countries poorly equipped to deal with the coronavirus outbreak. With little access to water, soap or sanitiser, and having no purchasing power to buy enough food along with being unable to self isolate in fear of losing their fragile employment and income, our children and their families are at risk.

Thankfully none of our children around the world have caught coronavirus but we are monitoring the situation very closely and have put stringent precautions in place to minimise the risk and protect our children as best we can, especially as many of our kids are living with underlying health conditions.

Please be assured that we will do our absolute best to continue to provide quality child care for our 3,600 children worldwide even in these uncertain times.

Are the children in Stand by Me’s care at risk to coronavirus?

Yes. Unfortunately many of our children are living with underlying health conditions. Not only are they at risk because of their health but also due to the lack of access to resources they need to protect themselves such as water, soap and sanitiser. Our children and their families are living in poverty and therefore have no purchasing power to buy enough food. Neither can they cannot afford to self isolate as there are no safety nets to protect their fragile employment and income. The places where we work do not have a high level of healthcare and their governments are ill equipped to deal with an outbreak.

Has coronavirus spread to the countries where Stand by Me works?

Yes the coronavirus has spread to many of the countries where we work. You can find the latest statistics of coronavirus cases here on the World Health Organisation's website.

We are receiving regular updates from our directors and staff around the globe as to cases in the local areas where we work.

What measures and precautions has Stand by Me put in place to protect the children?

We are following guidelines from the WHO and each country has to follow the guidelines of their own government. We have also worked with medical professionals to put together an extensive guide for all our projects. The guide includes information on the virus and how it spreads, preventing spread of infection, procedures to follow should a child/staff member become unwell or is exposed to the virus, home isolation advice and a cleaning and disinfection process.

We are in constant contact with our country directors, working closely with them to advise and quickly put measures in place. As the situation is changing daily we can’t give you specific information on our measures in each country but we are doing all we can and our staff on the ground are working incredibly hard with our children’s health, making their protection their highest priority.

Have any of your projects closed?

Yes, our schools around the world have closed to follow guidelines and government advice to reduce the spread of infection. With school closures and self-isolating, we are caring for children in a different way to usual as the safety and protection of our children is always our top priority. The children in our children's homes are staying isolated within the confines of our children’s villages where they will receive regular food and be supported and supervised by their home parents. This is the safest place for them.

Our schools are closed in Ethiopia where we support 1,050 children and their families. It is worth pausing our children’s education to protect their health but our children cannot afford to miss out on their lifeline of regular meals received at school. With their families too poor to provide adequate food at home, malnourishment and even starvation are a very real danger.

To ensure that no child goes hungry, in faith we have sent money to Ethiopia for our staff to buy supplies and give out food parcels to every family in our care, starting with the most destitute and at risk. Each monthly food parcel costs £40 and will provide a family with essential food and soap to keep a family nourished and healthy while enabling them to remain isolated. We want to provide food parcels for as long as required for every child and family in our care who needs essential food. 

We have already started to do the same in our other projects. In Colombia our children and families have received food parcels containing 2 weeks' food. We are also preparing similar measures in Nepal. You can donate towards food parcels at www.standby.me/foodparcels

Help us provide urgent food parcels

We want to ensure that no child in our care goes hungry while isolating and we would really appreciate your help to provide essential food parcels to keep our children and their families nourished and healthy. 

How can I find out about my sponsored child and how can I help them?

If you have concerns for your sponsored child please email [email protected] and we will do our best to reply to your query. Please understand that our staff’s main priority is supporting our projects and therefore we cannot provide detailed updates for every one of our sponsors at this time. We are so grateful that you may want to specifically give to help your sponsored child; however, our urgent food appeal which will benefit all our children eventually will need to be directed to the most needy and most at risk families as priority. To allow us to respond to the needs quickly and efficiently we are unable to take donations to help specific children through the food appeal.

Is it business as usual at Stand by Me’s offices?

Due to government advice, our UK staff are temporarily working from home. We will try our best to operate as usual, but there will inevitably be some changes and delays in the way we usually run. You can still contact us by email ([email protected]) and by phone 01708 442271. While you can still send post, please be aware that it must fit in an A5 envelope to be posted through our letterbox and the post will not be checked as often as before.  

Can I still communicate with my sponsored child?

Yes, we would love you to continue to support and encourage your sponsored child. The best way to communicate with your sponsored child at this time is by email. We are encouraging you to email rather than send postal letters because post will not be processed as frequently due to staff working remotely. If you must send post, it should fit in an A5 envelope so that it can be posted through our letterbox. Please bear in mind it may take longer than usual to receive a reply to your email while our projects safeguard our children and staff. Email your sponsored child to [email protected]

If you would like to send a gift to your child for Easter or their birthday, the quickest way to do this is to give a monetary gift to your sponsored child online at www.standby.me/donate-treat. If you do not remember your child's ID number, please email us at [email protected] or call us on 01708442271.

Communicate with your sponsored child

We would love you to continue to support and encourage your sponsored child. The best way to communicate with your sponsored child at this time is by email. If you would like to send a gift to your child, the quickest way to do this is to give a monetary gift to your sponsored child online. A monetary gift of between £10-£25 will be used to buy a gift which your child wants or needs and which will help them feel loved and special. 

How can I help?

Firstly you can pray. Please pray for protection for all of our children and staff around the world as well as the families of our children. Please pray for wisdom for all of us at Stand by Me here in the UK offices as well as our incredible team of staff on the ground who are making hard decisions every day. Please pray for God’s peace to be with every child. If you would like to receive emails containing prayer points during this time, please email [email protected] to be added to our prayer list.

Secondly, please help support our urgent food appeal to help keep our children around the world nourished and healthy while isolating www.standby.me/foodparcels

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