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Helping vulnerable children around the world survive COVID-19

FOR INFORMATION:

Dave Stell
communications manager
dstell@ccfcanada.ca; 905.754.1001, ext. 223 or 416-898-6770

AT A GLANCE…
  • ChildFund and Children Believe have been implementing an ambitious COVID-19 response plan to help children and their families
  • The growing economic uncertainty of the past several months is having a tremendous impact on children
  • With the closure of so many schools, at least a third of the world’s schoolchildren have been unable to access remote learning

Helping vulnerable children around the world survive COVID-19

ChildFund directs nearly $80 million to help stop spread of virus, provide nutrition and educational support, and prevent violence as countries around the globe continue to see a spike in cases

Preparing for food kit pick-ups in Paraguay

MARKHAM, Ont. — Six months after launching an ambitious COVID-19 Response Plan in April 2020, ChildFund is directing nearly US$80 million to relief efforts, reaching more than 5.6-million children in more than 60 countries. This includes more than $44 million in new funds raised and more than $35 million in sponsored funds that ChildFund members, including Canada’s Children Believe, repurposed in the wake of the global health crisis.

The need could not be more urgent. While there has been good news in recent weeks about the arrival of vaccines that proved successful in trials, the global pandemic has already fundamentally altered the health, economic, educational and political landscape of our world. Moreover, it will be a daunting process for countries worldwide to approve, distribute and administer the vaccines to billions of people.

According to the World Health Organization, as of December 15, the world had more than 71-million confirmed cases of COVID-19, with more than 1.6-million deaths attributed to the virus[1]. In addition, the World Bank estimates the pandemic will push as many as 115-million additional people into extreme poverty this year[2], and school closures are affecting hundreds of millions of children[3].

For many of the world’s most vulnerable populations, the growing economic uncertainty of the past several months has resulted in numerous negative impacts on children. The crisis has increased threats of violence against children, the risk of child labour, child marriage and child trafficking. Further, at least a third of the world’s children are unable to access remote learning with so many schools closed to in-person learning[4].

To help minimize the negative effects of the pandemic, and make sure children and families remain healthy, educated, and safe, ChildFund’s COVID-19 Response Plan focuses on four key priority areas: stopping COVID-19 from infecting children and families; getting children the food they need; keeping children safe from violence — physically and emotionally; and helping children to continue their learning.

“With COVID-19 threatening the health, safety and education of children and their families, so far we’ve been able to reach about 600,000 people whom have benefited from our COVID-19 response interventions,” said Fred Witteveen, Children Believe CEO. “We will continue to respond to the pressing need in the most effective way possible.”

“As many countries are experiencing yet another peak in the number of COVID-19 cases, it is all the more vital to reach those who are suffering as a result of the significant economic hardships this pandemic has triggered,” said Meg Gardinier, ChildFund Alliance secretary general. “The collateral damage from the pandemic will have long-lasting impacts if we don’t take aggressive action to stop the spread of the virus and mitigate its harms to children.”

ChildFund has been installing community handwashing stands; educating communities about symptoms, hygiene measures and locations for testing and treatment; distributing essentials such as soap, gloves and masks; and creating child-friendly spaces. To make sure children get food and other essentials they need, ChildFund is providing cash for families most in need, and where possible, is distributing food and basic household items directly. In all of its activities, ChildFund is carefully abiding by COVID-19 protection measures.

Children Believe has provided lifesaving education to protect people from transmission of the virus and personal-protective equipment for health workers, children and community members. Food rations and cash vouchers have been delivered to families who’ve lost income, to address child hunger at home. And psycho-social supports have been implemented, along with making education supplies available to keep children learning.

With 80 years of experience, and operations in more than 70 countries across 12 members, ChildFund is well equipped to make a meaningful difference in the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children, during and after this pandemic. You can read or download the plan or visit childrenbelieve.ca. Learn how you can help by visiting ChildFund’s online COVID-19 emergency response site.

[1] https://covid19.who.int/

[2] https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2020/10/07/covid-19-to-add-as-many-as-150-million-extreme-poor-by-2021

[3] https://en.unesco.org/covid19/educationresponse

[4] https://www.unicef.org/press-releases/covid-19-least-third-worlds-schoolchildren-unable-access-remote-learning-during

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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.

About ChildFund Alliance:

A member of ChildFund Alliance, Children Believe is part of a global network of 12 child-focused development organizations working to create opportunities for children and youth, their families and communities. ChildFund helps nearly 23-million children and their families in more than 70 countries overcome poverty and underlying conditions that prevent children from achieving their full potential. We work to end violence against children; provide expertise in emergencies and disasters to ease the harmful impact on children and their communities; and engage children and youth to create lasting change and elevate their voices in decisions that affect their lives.