Jul 14, 2020

COVID-19 TEMPORARILY CHANGED OUR GAME PLAN

Packaging food parcels bought with grant from GG
Packaging food parcels bought with grant from GG
While our mandate is to advocate and provide support services for victims of gender based violence and lack of access to justice; COVID-19 arrived with challenges that was unforseen and unplanned which required us to diviate from our scheduled programs to provide basic food support to our clients:  
Over the last 4 months we have had to:
  • Seek donations to procure basic food items and packed 1142  food packages and the same quantity of personal hygiene packs for our clients who had lost their jobs and in some instances their homes;
  • Set up remote counseling via IPAD to safe houses
  • Obtained a special pass from the NATIONAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY (NEMO) to distribute food and hygiene pack and also respond to GBV incidents during State of Emergency and Curfew;
  • Suspended group Counseling; 
  • Suspended physical home visits and instead done face time just to reassure clients;
  • Suspended the completion of our office space and counseling room; 
  • Received a Grant from GlobalGiving which allowed us to provide 320 food and hygiene packs to our clients. 

COVID-19 has escalated the many challenges of GBV victims as the country shut down, GBV spiked and abusers used this time to escalate abuse, with school being closed and over 30K students at home so did sexual abuse. 

The greatest challenge now is for food, rent and utilities with internet connection being key as most marginalized homes has no water, electricity, internet connection or digital devices for children to participate in E-Learning. 

Disparties between the middle and upper class versus the poor and marginalized are more visible as the hospitality industry, small businesses, and self employed enterprise shut down and thereby shutting down paycheck to paycheck jobs leaving many unable to support basic needs. 

“Safety planning is still our number one priority and we have integrated new applications on smartphones that alerts 6 people either via text, call or alert to signal the person needs help. We have created safe people and places to go for individuals who are still in the abusive home and as always, each situation is unique so all plans are tailored to the specific case

And above all else we continue to practice safety to avoid the spread of the corona virus. 

We thank you for your support thus far and continue to ask for your donations to assist those who are unable to provide food and E-learning support for their children. 

Volunteers packing food parcels
Volunteers packing food parcels
Volunteers measuring non perishable food.
Volunteers measuring non perishable food.
Jul 14, 2020

CHALLENGES AND RESILIENCE DURING COVID-19

Packing food parcels to distribute to needy
Packing food parcels to distribute to needy

Seismic shifts across our society—racial justice movements around the world and a pandemic—have further brought to light the socioeconomic inequities embedded in our ecosystems for centuries. As our communities adapt to new realities, the vision of how we support, influence, and provide for special needs people within our society is critical and can no longer be ignored. 

Little has been done to provide people with disabilities with the guidance and support needed to protect them during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, even though many of them are part of the high-risk group except for including a sign language component to the briefings.

People with disabilities in Saint Lucia feel they have been left behind; measures, such as social distancing and self-isolation has become impossible for those who rely on the support of others to eat, dress and bathe.

Many people with disabilities depend on services that have been suspended for months and they did not have enough money to stockpile food and medicine, or afford the extra cost of home deliveries.

We have tried to provide basic food and items such as disposable diapers and wipes but this has in no way minimized the total marginalization of special needs children

We need your support to continue provide minimal support to those who are less able to provide for themselves in those critical times.

We distributed a total of 320 food parcels to as many households however this is not sufficient to last for any extended period and all those persons are already in dire need. 

Mar 19, 2020

GBV VICTIMS ARE NOT INCLUDED IN COVID-19 PREP

Saint Lucia is a Tourism destination and the COVID-19 has had a very devastating effect on the tourism industry, but most importantly the thousands of women who work at the various resorts no longer have independent livelihoods as the resorts are closing down as travel restrictions take effect in Canada, USA, Europe, etc.

The Prime Minister’s address to the Nation did not include any relief or arrangement for gender based violence victims, special needs children or marginalized groups, therefore, women and children who do not have disposable income are left to fend for themselves in this crisis.

As women lose their jobs their partners threatens to throw them out onto the street if they cannot find a job to contribute to the bills, for women who are experiencing domestic violence, mandatory lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19 (the disease caused by the new coronavirus) have trapped them in their homes with their abusers, isolated from the people and the resources that could help them.

A growing number of callers to our organization’s line say that their abusers are using COVID-19 as a means of further isolating them from their friends and family, threatening to throw their victims out on the street and some are withholding financial resources and medical assistance.

The very way we are protecting people from the virus is impacting victims of domestic violence, we absolutely support the need to follow these measures of social distancing and isolation, we also recognize that it provides an opportunity for abusers to unleash more violence on their victims.

One out of three women in the world experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, according to the World Health Organization, making it “the most widespread but among the least reported human rights abuses.” But during times of crisis—the risk of gender-based-violence escalates.

Providing nonperishable foods, disposable diapers, wipes and medication to our clients is our most important concern at this time while continuing to provide support services via alternative medium to ensure their safety.

 
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