31 Jul Who said a pandemic would stop us?
Family Relief Project
In July 2020, Pintar en Bolivia provided the most vulnerable families in Cochabamba with essential food donation, a sanitary kit and an educative manual about covid-19 to help them stay afloat and overcome the pandemic’s aftermath.
These families live in the poorer districts of the city and normally rely on a small day-to-day income. The strict 4 months lockdown in Bolivia has hit the poorest families hard, as they had no opportunity to earn a living, they have no savings and sometimes even no access to running water. These families already suffered from a lack of access to good education and health care, a situation that has been greatly exacerbated by the global pandemic.
How did this project emerge?
Witnessing the urgent need for help, the local organization “Red del Sur” contacted Pintar en Bolivia for help. Red del Sur is a network of 16 social projects in the southern zone of Cochabamba, each project fighting to help the most vulnerable in their own way, for instance:
- Psychotherapeutic care for boys who have experienced sexual abuse
- Providing healthcare to communities and education to vulnerable communities
- NGO works with children in vulnerable families and children who are homeless
- Educational programs
The first round of donations took place in July 2020 where we provided packages to 25 families from different social projects, like Mosoj Runitas who works with young boys who have been victims of sexual abuse with innovative therapies, social support programs and awareness programs to break the cycle of sexual abuse and violence. Mosoj Runitas usually cares for 100 families but due to funding restrictions following the pandemic’s outbreak, they could only help 19 of them. In such times, the Family Relief Project is more than needed and well received.
More organisations among Red del Sur are in the same urgent need for help. It is the case of Fundación Kumi Levantate where 15 out of the 20 the families they care for have no food to live by daily. Kumi Levantate is a Christian foundation that supports disadvantaged children and teenagers, and especially young people with disabilities and their families. They provide educational support, talks, sport activities and snacks for the young people. They also organize medical checks, dental checks, physiotherapy and when possible provide equipment such as wheelchairs.
How are the families selected and what are their background?
We are collaborating closely with Yusenka – the lead social worker of Red del Sur – to identify the most effective ways to help the families during these hard times. Thanks to her experience and knowledge of the tough situations in the south, she has been able to help us select the families by putting together a strict selection process to identify the ones most desperate for help. As she knows each of the 16 projects personally, she is more than fit for the job to identify where our project would be best received.
The families, many of whom have more than 4 children, were chosen because they have very low or no income and are unable to buy basic necessities for their children.
How does this project help these families in the long run?
We would of course love to solve the poverty and hunger issue in the south and outskirts of Cochabamba… but we are sure that if we believe in it this dream will one day come true.
In the meanwhile, we are looking at the short/middle-term impact of our project as to respond to the current needs, step by step.
- First and foremost, our project provides RELIEF. Relief to families who don’t have money to live by, relief to parents who are now struggling more than before to earn and income and feed their families. With our project, we provide a stress relief by ensuring them at least 2-months’ worth of food supplies.
- It ensures children are fed properly. Most of them used to get their only meal at school but since they have closed until the end of the year, it challenged the parents even more to provide for them.
- The sanitary kit allows for the parents to feel safer about going back to work. It provides them with daily protection against the virus, which is vital when considered that these families do not have healthcare. Also, as the health system collapsed with less than 100 beds in intensive care, anyone contracting the virus has a higher risk of fatality. The more they can protect themselves, the better.
- The sanitary kit also educates the families on the issue of covid-19, its virality, its impact on our health and what measures can help reduce the risks of infection. As children are kept out of school and parents come from low class with little to no education, they often need support to learn even the basic health measures. Moreover, the media and the government are not always transparent when transmitting information about the virus. Therefore, the manual – created in collaboration with Bioseguridad’s team of professionals – provides long term measures for the families to improve their hygiene habits.
- Last but not least, the Family Relief Project provides warmth, love and hope. Who doesn’t need that when fighting against a pandemic’s aftermath? At least, it’s a first step towards solving bigger issues.