Many things have happened over the last few months and I am happy to share some highlights with you. At first, let me start by saying that the COVID situation in Cartagena has improved significantly in contrast with the rest of the country. This allowed us the opportunity to resume some activities with the kids in our facilities while keeping others in a remote fashion.
Although the public health situation has improved, we experienced a tropical storm that severely impacted some of the families we support, leaving some of their houses flooded or damaged. This forced us to act quickly to provide temporary shelter for around 7 families whilst we liaised with local workers to help repair their homes, and as after the storm, there is calm, for some of those families this meant having brand-new floors after such a dramatic experience as you can see in the pictures below.
In terms of the core activities, we did not have a shortage of them, below is a list of the main ones and the results they yielded:
Health and nutrition: We distributed around 108 liters of milk and 110 grocery supplies to the kids and their families, to help preserve their food security, an activity that left kids and parents alike feeling very grateful.
Fruitful utilization of the leisure time: To prevent kids from engaging in the drugs, gangs, and other threats that surround their neighborhood, we decided early on to design activities that help them better utilize their leisure time and that can serve as a replacement for the time they would have otherwise spent wandering in the streets where they are most at risk. To this end, we conducted a series of activities to promote reading habits in the kids and their families as well as promoting the development of artistic and creative skills.
Encouraging responsible parenthood remains at the core of our belief that a child's life cannot substantially change without the support of their parents. This is the reason we conducted several visits to kids’ homes and talk to their parents to help them understand the importance of their children's mental wellbeing and reinforced previous notions to prevent domestic abuse.
On the education front, we noticed that some parents did not have the necessary knowledge to help their kids complete their remote schooling assignments, and hence some kids were falling behind on their already limited education. To tackle this, we redouble our efforts on school reinforcements classes with the children most at risk and doing so by gathering small groups of kids (to allow for social distance rules to be kept) multiple times a week. The results were inspiring as the kids learning improved and their parents were grateful and happy for the support they received.
Finally, other activities included supplying Christmas gifts and school supplies for the new school year starting in January. Given all this positive news and the fact that COVID seems to be gradually receding from Cartagena, we are planning to fully resume our on-premises activities in the month of March, this means bringing back the breakfast club every day before school which is so key for our kids’ physical development. In addition, we are also extending the program to include 30 additional kids (for a total of 100!). We would love to have your continued support during this reopening and expansion phase to continue transforming the lives of 100 children in Cartagena.
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