POSTED June 18, 2020
Beyond the virus: how the pandemic is taking its toll
Find out how parents, children and youth are coping with the changes in our Nicaragua programs
By Enmanuel Castro, communications manager, Nicaragua
Arlen sells Nicaragua’s traditional buñuelo snack on the streets to support her kids, so staying home during the COVID-19 lockdown is challenging.
Losing that chance to work represents the difference between having something to eat or not. “When I go out, I am afraid, I entrust myself to God, I feel scared about the possibility of bringing that virus to my family,” explains Arlen, the mother of three children — aged 4, 8 and 15 — who are sponsored through Children Believe.
Although a lockdown and safety measures are yet to be officially enacted in Nicaragua, Arlen is struggling to earn enough for her family. “The situation is very difficult,” she begins. “Sometimes we eat once or twice a day; I give children plenty of water so they don’t get so hungry, and when they ask me for more food, I tell them to sing hymns to God. I play with them and tell stories to distract them and help them forget the hunger, but they always ask me for more food. I don’t have much to give them.”
Stories like this are examples of why COVID-19 not only poses a tremendous danger to people’s lives, but is also drastically changing how children and teens live. That’s the case for Miguel Ángel, 15, whose taken time away from school (which is still open) to help his parents earn money.
Miguel’s following in his father’s footsteps by working in an auto repair shop, while his mother is washing clothes when she can. Unfortunately, both services are in low demand during the pandemic.
Children Believe is helping Arlen, Miguel and other extremely vulnerable families through the distribution of 2,000 food packages, 5,000 hygiene kits and 16,000 packages of educational materials. Community leaders are also sharing ways to keep safe and prevent domestic violence during this difficult time, and we’re providing psychosocial care to children in crisis.
Arlen and Miguel have also learned best practices for protecting themselves from COVID-19 such as handwashing, social-distancing and self-isolating.
Children Believe continues to work to ensure more families receive help during this crisis. Food aid, community health actions, school reinforcement, psychosocial care for children and violence prevention are part of our work to ensure children and their families are healthy, safe and secure.
To learn more about how you can help, visit childrenbelieve.ca/covid-19.
ABOUT CHILDREN BELIEVE (formerly Christian Children's Fund of Canada):
Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60 years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.