Oct 28, 2020

Children heart

To cope with the Covid-19 pandemic, Mission Bambini has implemented strategic changes to what was planned for 2020. Initially, all the partners on site have been contacted in order to assess any emergency needs. In Italy, Mission Bambini supported the Niguarda Hospital in Milan by providing: 16,000 FFP2 filter masks for doctors and nursing health personnel working in Covid19 wards; - 200 protective face shields for pediatric healthcare professionals.

 

Due to the pandemic situation caused by the Sars-Cov-2 outbreak, a reallocation and rationalization of the resources initially planned for the Children’s Health projects was realized, following the following ratio:

-pursue the expected results as much as possible, especially in terms of operated children;

-reallocate the resources foreseen for the medical missions scheduled in April, May and June;

-Enhance the support for the local partners, on site.

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From March to June/July, local hospitals were authorized to operate only in urgent cases; Follow-up cardiac examinations were carried out regularly;

Partners have partially restructured their activities to meet the new contagion containment needs.

-in Myanmar, pediatric cardiac surgeries were financed at the Yankin Children Hospital for 20 children with congenital heart disease;

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-in Nepal, in collaboration with the local NGO "Save the Heart - Nepal“, transport to Kathmandu of 7 cardiopathic children awaiting surgery was supported and arranged, as well as food and accommodation for children carers for the whole length of hospitalization.

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-in Zimbabwe, the Luisa Guidotti Hospital was supported to carry out the follow-up for about 70 children operated on in recent years, to constantly monitor drug therapy.

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-in Uganda, Mission Bambini supported the Uganda Heart Institute by providing surgery consumables in order to operate 10 young patients with congenital heart disease.

Sep 28, 2020

Girls education doesn't stop

Many months after the first lockdown in March, and the Coronavirus Pandemic remains a time of huge economic, social, and psychological difficulty for the vulnerable sections of the communities that we work with.

In Bangladesh and India schools will remain closed at least unitl the 5th of october and we realize that some of the damage caused will remain irreparable. Most of the Vulnerable communities  do not yet have a stable job because they are daily wage workers. Women, who mostly work as housemaids are going to work but some people continue to ask maids not to come for work fearing infection through them- so many women are fearing that they may lose their jobs or be asked not to come. Also unfortunately not everyone paid them for the time they were not able to come for work. Competition is high as there are a limited number of work opportunities and many women who are desperate to do any kind of work to bring home an income to run the household expenses and pay for their children’s needs. Sometimes the children’s fathers, most often alcoholics, get tensed and angry, even depressed and take it all out of their wives and children. Fights are frequent and quite animated. 

Another problem is that when the parents go out to work, earlier the children used to be at  school; but now they are left alone or in the presence of an older sibling, or a neighbour “uncle or cousin”- not always the safest option. Children tend to fight also a lot among themselves; as they do not know how to deal with this pandemic emotionally.

 

Stories of Struggle

1. P. is a beneficiary of Social Entrepreneurship program. She has three children. Her husband is a painter; but he only works for a few days every month- she is therefore the main breadwinner of the family. She runs a Flowers shop at the entrance of Kuruchukuppam, by the entrance of a small but popularly visited local temple. She was already running this small business when she applied for and received a SE loan from Sharana last January to upscale it further. With the help of this loan she was able to purchase a tarpaulin that could cover the area on top of her stall protecting her from weather elements such as the sun and rain. She was also able to purchase some flowers and pooja items in bulk which would allow her to earn a bigger profit for each item sold. (as she bought these in wholesale) Soon after receiving the loan she initially earned between Rs. 400 to 500 per day as January and February as festive and auspicious months a majority of people visit the temple; many others continue to visit once or twice a week throughout the year. However, when Corona struck her income completely stopped for several months. During this time her husband also could not go for work; the family income was down to zero. They somehow managed on the government relief and Sharana’s relief that was provided. A month ago, temples were opened to the public once again and she restarted her business but the number of devotees is very less- they come only for auspicious days or events; the regular weekly visits are avoided due to possibility of catching infections in a public place like temples. Her income, while restarted, remains minimum. She is waiting for the situation to improve; so that the business can resume as normal- as for the moment the socio-economic situation in their home is almost hand-to-mouth.

Aug 26, 2020

Asian Girls education during COVID pandemia

Report from India: Four months after the first lockdown in March, and the Coronavirus Pandemic remains a time of hugeeconomic,social,and psychological difficulty for the vulnerable sections of the communities.Our partner, Sharana NGO; has distributed provision items to over 1050 families till date, and also distributed over 300 packets of cooked food in the vulnerable communities we work with. InJuly, we disbursed support kits once again to over 250 families. This kit comprises an Essential Provisionskit,aHygieneHit(includingtwokindsofsoapandmasks)aswellasanActivityKitfor all the women under the Social Entrepreneurship program.

Our social workers have started making regular outreach visits into slums and communities. The team maintains all proper all safe practices and hygiene protocol including wearing a mask as well as a face shield during these visits. These visits are especially important because in Sharana’s field of intervention, the human connection is essential and cannot be replaced with the phone or other devices. Last week, one of Sharana’s Back to School child was tested COVID Positive along with her sister and parents who tested positive as well. They are all undergoing treatment at the hospital and responding positively to the medication. Our team, very concerned about this news, is following up with the family every day. Their situation is improving daily and they should all be back home in the next 3-4 days. most of the Vulnerable communities and Back to School beneficiaries do not yet have a stable job because they are daily wage workers. The owners are afraid of the Corona situation and of a possible outbreak on their site- they are only calling the minimumnumberofneededlabouronanalternatebasis.Mostbeneficiariesgettoworkonlytwo daysinaweekonaverage-decreasingtheirincomedrastically;theyarenotabletomanagetheir household expenses in this amount and once again the vicious cycle of small loans with a high- interest rate hasbegun.

Women, who mostly work as housemaids are going to work but some people continue to ask maids not to come for work fearing infection through them- so many women are fearing that they may lose their jobs or be asked not to come. Also unfortunately not everyone paid them for the time they were not able to come for work. Competition is high as there area limited number of work opportunities and many women who aredesperatetodoanykindofworktobringhomeanincome to run the household expenses and pay for their children’s needs.Sometimesthechildren’sfathers,mostoften alcoholics, get tensed and angry, even depressed and take it all out of their wives and children. Fights are frequent and quite animated. Alcohol was not available for two months, is now available but at very high rates-and even those husbands that do go forwork-spendmostofthemoneyandeven take small loans to be able to drink every day. Sharana is continuously striving to ensure safety of women during this timeand the social workers are supporting women with alcoholic husbands via regular 1-1 counselling. In worst case scenarios, the social workers also encouraging the women to complain at the nearest women police station and seek support. 

Another problem is that when the parents go out to work, earlier the children used to be at Sharana or in school; but now they are left aloneorinthepresenceofanolder sibling, or a neighbour “uncle or cousin”- not always the safest option.

No dates of government schools reopening have been shared as yet- this decision will only be reviewed in the coming weeks; however, the social workers have been following up with the students through regular outreach and phone counselling sessions.On a positive note, the results of the 12th standard exams are out and several of the students from Sharana have fared well in spite of the tough circumstances in their homes and communities. 

 

In Angalakuppam the creche and dispensary remain closed; the staff however continue to come and do outreach as well as administrative work. Like the students in the city, the dates for schools to reopen will only be looked at in the month of August; the social workers and the staff of Angalakuppam have been following up with the students through regular phone counseling sessions and/or visits. Most girls continue to help their mothers to cook and clean the home; and the boys help out with the cattle and learn to catch fish. Agriculture work like planting of vegetables and flowers and other crops in the field like paddy,ragi, gingelly etc., have also restarted and people go regularly for work and social distance ismaintained where possible. Also, the cattle and fishing businessescontinue,howeverthepriceofthecattle feed remains high and the fishing is very lesssince the water level in the backwater is now very low given peak summer. Also, those men and women workinginconstructionsitesandsmall-scalevillage industries, had begun to go for work by foot.

 

Story of hope

After the father deserted the family, the mother was solely responsible for Saisajitha our preschool child) and cared for her with the support of her mother (maternal grandmother). She worked in a shop and was the breadwinner of the family; however, she lost her job during the Pandemic. They managed somehow with borrowed provisions and those distributed by Sharana andthegovernment.Afterthelockdownwascalledoff,shetriedtogetajob butnonewjobsare available the market as the number of people looking for jobs is much higher than the number of jobs available (given the reduced activities running); also new people are not taken in easily as there is always a fear of infection as the number of cases are rising day afterday.

Unfortunately the family began depending on the dole for survival- this was when the mother decided to start a small business of her own. The grandmother would help her buy some vegetables and she would in turn so sell them from door to door. She was able to invest some money for purchasing vegetables by taking up small loans with private money-lenders; she has now been paying the loans off a little by little every week. While she is not earning a big income from this enterprise, she is able to pay back the loans as well as manage the weekly household expenses.

She is courageous and plans to continue this business till she is able to secure a steady well- paying job.

 
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