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Jun 25, 2020

Community and Capacity in a COVID 19 world

Dear friends of Operation Mercy, 

it is a difficult world we live in right now; my plans were to visit the projects in Afghanistan this summer instead we are talking online, monitor not only the COVID statistics but also the impact of the pandemic on our project participants and our partners around the world. 

We have started COVID 19 response projects in all our countries and if you want to give specific to that check out the project here on GlobalGiving. The pandemic is still heavily affecting our work and has arrived in our midst with people we know and love being sick and losing family members to the virus. 

The people we work with are some of the most vulnerable in countries with low capacity heath care. So is there anything good to report anything that gives hope? 

YES there certainly is - one of the most amazing things for me is how the pandemic has broken down silos in projects and the whole organisation that we have wanted to see disappear for a long time but it took pain to make things shift. 

For example the response to the pandemic has lead to a lot of cross programme and project work, in Afghanistan the staff of the Self-help group programme, the WASH programme and the Rahmat Good Books publishing project have created two booklets on COVID 19 together and are reaching all their previous project participants across the project boundaries with this important awareness lessons - the books have been distributed over 80,000 times in Afghanistan. 

We also have seen an amazing community among our country directors as we come together initially weekly and now every second week - learning from each other, building each other up, raising funds across country boundaries and seeing the others needs first. 

So while there are worries the community and communal capacity that is rooted in deep relationships across our projects and work has grown and is making us a stronger and more resilient organisation today then we were six months ago! 

You want to be part of that community? You can by giving but also by following us on Facebook or Instagram and spreading the hope, community and capacity we see develop in all our projects. 

I also want to invite you to celebrate with us the achievements for 2019 in our attached annual report, which also includes a finance and audit report for your information. 

https://www.instagram.com/opmercyint/  https://web.facebook.com/OpMercyInternational/

Yours Andrea 

Links:


Attachments:
May 20, 2020

Distributing Food, Hygiene Products and Hope during COVID-19.

Like many international NGOs, we were told to temporarily halt our operations and projects in mid-March due to government restrictions. Every camp was closed to the public and all NGOs with only governmental aid were allowed to enter. Our office staff continued to work from home and secure funding for distributions for when we were allowed to enter once again. After gaining permission from the assistant governor of the region, we were able to visit and give food and hygiene products to 65 families spread out in seven camps last week!

These families are ones that we have been visiting weekly or twice weekly for the past several months or even years. We were able to put together a $50 packet of food staples and cleaning products for each family and then go to their houses to gift them with these essentials while maintaining a safe distance. Despite taking extra precautions and needing to wear masks and gloves throughout the hot days, our staff and clients were overjoyed to be reunited even for a few minutes! We asked how each client has been doing and we were able to hear their stories and encourage them and let them know they are not forgotten.

One young mother has been unable to leave her house as she has five children under the age of ten. Her husband had suffered an accident prior to this time and had only been able to do light daily work to provide for his family. After the restrictions were put in place due to COVID-19, he was unable to work at all because of this inability to find light work inside the camp. They were out of many necessary household and food items and were so thankful to receive the distribution gift and to see us once again.

May 14, 2020

Stay encouraged! And stay safe!

Stay encouraged! And stay safe!

 

The first thing that reached the Syrian refugges we work with regarding Covid-19 were the rumors. It is unquestionable, that rumours spread even faster than viruses. Many people were very frightened by the prospect of the pandemic reaching their homes and ready to believe even the strangest sounding advice and worst case scenarios.

 

Even as our region geared up to respond to the emerging threat, our staff took the chance to educate the women attending our class about Covid-19. Because of the trust that they have in our fitness leaders, the women were able to learn about the recommended hygiene measures, how to protect themselves and boost their immune systems by continuing to excercise and eat well. They also learned to not spend too much time watching the news and worrying, in order to safeguard their mental health.

 

Soon it became aparent that we would not be able to continue to meet for a season as the camp management requested the discontinuation of all kinds of meetings in the camp and the government proceeded to impose various curefews in the camps as well as the whole region.

While some of the restrictions have been eased seeing as there are next to no known cases in the governorate and camps that we work in, we are not yet able to relaunch meeting in groups to excercise due to existing restrictions.

 

We are so thankful that the women's fitness project continues to have an impact, even when the fitness classes are closed. Many of the women we have talked to our thankful for the community and relationships that have been formed as a result of the project. The participants in our excercise classes remain connected via social media. One of our fitness leaders said that before she started exercising she felt isolated and alone, but now because of the fitness classes, she is part of a strong vibrant community which has been a support to her during the COVID-19 crisis. The women continue to encourage each other as well as challenge one another to eat healthily and stay active. We are so thankful for the awesome women involved in this project and how they continue to support each other in difficult times.

 
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