We are VERY excited to provide you with an update, now just a few weeks away from the official end of our operational pause. As our team worked through the summer months to map out what the reopening of our programs would ultimately look like, we knew our traditional volunteer model would need to be revisited. Not only were we considering things like the structure of the base itself and how we could alter the layout to encourage safe disatancing, we also felt we needed to identify a way to minimize risks for our staff, volunteers, and beneficiaries over extended periods of time. In order to address this concern, our team came up with a new volunteer recruitment and engagement strategy called DM12.
DM12 is a 12-week service commitment to communities impacted by natural disasters. The group structure, with participants arriving/departing program and working on the same 12-week schedule, reduces potential exposure points to COVID-19. This initiative will replace our regular volunteer application and acceptance process until we are safely and effectively able to mobilize and engage volunteers on an individual basis.
Two of our staff members just arrived in Florida, and will soon begin working on base adaptations and making preparations so we can open our program out of Jackson/Calhoun Counties as soon as possible. We hope to resume working in Florida starting this October. Thank you for continuing to follow our progress - I look forward to updating you again soon!
This update is quite bittersweet, as it will be our final report on this incredibly impactful program. Though we had hoped to open a second school rebuild program in Mozambique this fall (following the phased conclusion of our operational pause in light of COVID-19), we have since determined we will not be able to do so. Still, we remain hopeful that we may someday be able to return. For now, I would like to extend our sincere gratitude to you for helping make this work possible.
After our work in Mozambique began back in November, 244 volunteers from 23 nations joined us and dedicated themselves to rebuilding two disaster-resilient school campuses. Our volunteers were very close to completing the rebuild of Harrumua and Julius Nyerere Primary School campuses prior to our operational pause. Once we made sure everyone was safe, we brought in local contractors to complete the schools. Today, the campuses of both schools are new, beautiful, and secure. I had previously reported that this work would benefit 772 students, when in fact the impact of this effort will touch more than 951 students in the district of Nhamatanda. At Harrumua and Julius Nyerere Primary Schools, more than 2,174 students, over the next ten years, will directly benefit from safe places to learn.
Your generous support for this project has meant so much to us, and helped create such a positive difference in the lives of hundreds of children. From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU!
English lessons with community members
One of two finished schools!
Jun 26, 2020
Fulfilling our commitments...
By Julieann Jones - Grants Associate
We sincerely hope this message finds you and your loved ones healthy and well. A great deal has changed since our last program update, as the world continues to grapple with the effects of COVID-19. Just days after our last report was sent, our team had to make the difficult decision to pause our operations around the world. What began as two months, quickly became a 6 month pause to our operations in order to keep staff, volunteers, and community members safe.
We do want to reassure our incredible supporters like you that our commitments to communities remain resolute; we are doing everything we can to monitor the situation at the local level, and make necessary preparations so we can return to work as soon as safely possible. As of September 1, we expect to begin reopening programs on a case-by-case basis, based on local government guidelines and the advice of medical experts. Our goal now is to sustain our model and prepare to meet the challenges that COVID is already injecting into the disaster recovery landscape, so we can serve our mission over the long haul.
In the Bahamas specifically, we were extremely concerned about leaving behind a full queue of homes in need of roof repairs, risking further leaks and potential mold growth. Our solution has been to hire local and trusted contractors to do the work in the meantime, giving families a safe and dry place to stay. As of today, ten roofs have been completed and four are in progress. Our goal is to have 27 done by the end of the summer. If all goes as planned, we will be able to engage staff and volunteers early in our operational re-start timeline (which in this case means we may have boots on the ground in Great Abaco as early as September 1st)! Shortly after, we are planning to open a second satellite program to serve even more families affected by Hurricane Dorian - stay tuned for details!
I look forward to keeping you updated as plans progress, and the situation surrounding COVID-19 evolves.