For hundreds of thousands of people living in remote villages or city slums, escaping the coronavirus is extremely difficult. Socially isolating is not realistic when people are jammed together in poor communities and the next-door neighbour is barely a metre away. However, by teaching them the importance of regularly washing their hands and practising hygiene measures, they can cut down on the transmission of the virus.
In the small town of Paulette, Haiti there have already been seven confirmed cases of coronavirus and many more are expected as there is a high risk of spreading the virus. Our goal is to help each family set up a simple hand washing process. There is no running water inside their homes so we want them to develop a system that they can implement rather than us designing it for them. This way they are invested in it and are more likely to use it. Often a poor family can use an available container like a water jug or milk bottle to use with the clean water and soap that we will provide. This accessible handwashing system will enable many of them to escape contracting this deadly disease.
Most people live from hand to mouth, meaning the work they do each day pays for the food they need for that day. Asking people to stay home means they can’t eat that day because they would have no income, and they don’t have any savings to help in times of crisis. But with clean water and soap and practising healthy hygiene, it may help curb the pandemic among the poor as they strive to provide some meagre food for their families.
Because many poor families live in multi-generational houses, it is almost impossible for them to implement social distancing. Often there are grandparents and several of their children with their extended families all living together in one place. This makes it easy for the virus to spread.
Bright Hope is enabling pastors and elders to travel around among destitute families delivering clean water, soap, disinfectant and other hygiene supplies. These church leaders are talking with all the family members about how important it is for them to consistently wash their hands. They are helping each family decide how to set up a simple handwashing station outside their home in order to prevent being infected by the coronavirus or passing it on to others.
This life-saving help is happening in Haiti, Bolivia and Uganda. The goal is to have as many poor families as possible frequently washing their hands and practicing other preventative hygiene measures.
Gifts sent to AMT will be used to pay for the purchase of clean water, soap and disinfectant and also for the expenses of the elders and pastors to visit poor families. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to show the love of Jesus in a very practical way to hundreds of needy people duringthis crisis.
by Kevin G. Dyer