Strengthening Communities through Pandemic Relief Efforts
In addition to structural reform, direct action and efforts by various NGOs and ministries when the pandemic struck provided immediate relief to families and children. For example, in March of 2020, World Vision launched the largest emergency response in its 70-year history. Over a year, the agency reached 59 million people, including 25.4 million children, by teaching proper hygiene, providing personal protective equipment to medical personnel, and offering educational resources, emergency food, access to clean water, and financial support for parents.
In South Asia, GFA World entered “all-out crisis mode” during the pandemic to offer immediate help to the most destitute, such as daily laborers out of work, those living on the street, and others in risk of starvation. This outreach stretched into 2021; last spring GFA workers distributed 450 hygiene kits to families in need in one area after heavy rains and flooding touched off by a cyclone.
Among those affected were a woman named Verbena and her husband, who both lost their jobs due to shutdowns, leaving them without an income to provide for their family of 10.
“We are struggling,” Verbena said. “We indeed needed a hygiene kit, and I am thankful to the leaders for coming to my home and giving this kit to us.”
Such assistance takes long-term forms as well. One example is a girl named Naomi, who was able to attend school because of GFA World’s child sponsorship program. The program took care of such educational needs as pencils, notebooks and uniforms. The staff helped her understand school lessons and taught her valuable skills to give her a more hopeful future.
However, this assistance went further: Naomi’s mother, Leena, was able to enroll in a free tailoring course for women offered through local GFA workers. She had been unable to acquire skills at a center because of the $28 cost. Later, she received a sewing machine through a GFA “Bridge of Hope” center.
“I thank . . . the leaders [of this ministry] for this wonderful help,” Leena said. “I hope that [it] wipes the tears of many needy people.”
Such success stories show the need for people to remember that while many may be tired of the pandemic and its long-term effects, now is not the time to grow weary in well-doing—especially when it comes to children, says GFA World’s founder, K.P. Yohannan.
“This situation has taxed the resources, patience, and endurance of millions across the world,” Yohannan says. “But the young who are least able to deal with the effects of the pandemic are looking to their elders for help. This is one of the greatest opportunities to do good we have ever seen. We simply must respond.”
Rise above the challenges posed by COVID and child labor and be part of the solution that sets children free from the clutches of poverty. Through sponsoring a child in South Asia or Africa, you can provide them with a lifeline during these uncertain times. Whether you seek a child who shares your birthday or have specific criteria for age or gender, your sponsorship decision can create a lasting difference in the face of COVID and child labor.Learn more about the pandemic impact on children
 COVID-19: Ministry Updates from the Field.” GFA World. https://www.gfa.org/coronavirus/. June 11, 2021.
 “Overcoming Poverty: A Dream to Feed Her Children.” GFA World. https://www.gfa.org/news/articles/overcoming-poverty-a-dream-to-feed-her-children-wfr21-05/. May 2021.