The COVID-19 pandemic has guided our work since March16th. During the first week, we had to take in the shock: overnight, work as we knew it, stopped. Lockdown was initiated, and everyone went home taking the phone numbers of our trainees and visitors as well as the files necessary for the continued running of operations. Work to organize remote activities started in the next few days, with the following objectives:
- keep contact with our trainees and frequent visitors,
- offer support and help to fight melancholy,
- compensate for any reduction in subsidies.
This was basically the content of the first message that the Board sent to the employees with a note of comfort: some beauty for the ears and the heart ... from Ella and Louis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnXLVTi_m_M
Thus, in coordination with the management team, the employees and volunteers spontaneously re-engaged remotely in some of their activities with the means available to the families and trainees. We provided psychological support when necessary. At the beginning of April, we opened a hotline from Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and started communicating all useful information on our website and our FB. All activities / contacts were and are recorded day after day.
When contacted, the families told us that they were mostly fine, even if though they did not go out at all. They were grateful that we kept in touch. At the beginning, the main topics were exchange of news, advice on compensation "offered" by the State according to the parents' situations, resumption of educational support and games.
This allowed us to identify families who did not have the tools necessary to work remotely, so we launched an apeal to our network (companies and friends) and were provided with 16 laptops that we redistributed. It was quite a surprise to discover the extent of solidarity towards our public.
One-to-one workshops were time and energy consuming, and as families began to get used to the technology and process of remote training, we progressively developed remote group workshops: French language training, parenting support groups and workshops, educational support workshops for children, employment workshops...
The families and trainees were most grateful and relieved to be in contact with us.
We also kept in touch with housing requesters (DALO). Then in April, we decided to launch a phoning campaign towards our most regular senior visitors to offer counselling, inquiring on their material needs, the state of their morale and instruct them on the availability and use of masks.
During the whole of the lockdown period, the management team were hard at work: closing the 2019 fiscal year, applying to call to projects, and dealing with human resources. Soon they also had to think of preparing for the reopening: taking care of sanitary questions and prevention. It was necessary to comply with the sanitary rules required by the national authorities as well as the Occupational Medicine, establishing protocols in order to resume activities at Drop-in daycare and at our main venue. Once they were validated, the protocols were to be shared with the team, and from today with the visitors.
The board remained in contact with the team throughout, encouraging, supporting, and overseeing operations. Here is the message the board sent to the volunteers mid-May:
In continuation of our last email, I wanted with the Board, to inform you in more detail of the measures that will be implemented for the resumption of activities at SFM.
Initially we will only resume activities involving one-to-one interaction: Public writers, intermediaries, including Dalo and reopen the daycare center. Probably June 2. All other activities will continue in the same mode as that adopted during lockdown, ie remote.
The main recommendations concerning the risks have been provided by Occupational Medicine and protocols drafted <…>
I hope you will want to come back to SFM, within this framework. We are looking forward to seeing you there !
I must say, the continued support of the GlobalGiving community was also of great help. We were so excited for what happened... In March the campaign Little by little was a success, then unexpectedly, SFM was selected by Riot Games (and GlobalGiving) to participate to their League of Legend competition which closed in April ! THANK YOU TO ALL !