From sewing face masks and making handwashing basins, to grocery deliveries approved by the President—here are five stories of how Compassion staff and alumni across the globe have continued to care for children in their communities!

With measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 increasing globally, it can seem as though our lives are changing hourly.

Those living in poverty will be among the most severely impacted by this pandemic. The good news is that local church partners and community members are continuing to serve children in innovative ways.

Here are just a few examples of the many ways they are caring for children and reminding them of God’s love and hope.

Guatemala

How these Compassion heroes are combating COVID-19 in their communities!

When face masks and hand sanitiser suppliers ran out of stock, former sponsored child Yonathan wanted to help the vulnerable in his Guatemalan community.

“I was working on making uniforms for one local school, but I stopped my production to focus on serving people,” he says.

The 25-year-old is now using his tailoring skills to make microfibre face masks. While medical masks are the best option to prevent the spread of the virus, a handmade mask can offer limited protection alongside preventative measures.

“The face masks may reduce just a little percentage of COVID-19. The highest prevention is being careful, following the rules, staying at home, taking it easy and trusting in our Lord,” says Yonathan.

As Yonathan weaves hundreds of masks, he thinks about his former sponsors in Italy, the nation with the highest number of COVID-19 cases.

“Keep trusting in God... He has everything under control even when we think it is not so. God will always take care of His sons and daughters... He will take care of you. Thanks to that support, I am helping my community today."

Kenya

How these Compassion heroes are combating COVID-19 in their communities!

Thanks to their teamwork and creative thinking, a local church in Kenya is teaching parents how to make their own hand sanitiser and handwashing basins.

In this densely populated community, staff needed to act fast to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Emphasising existing hygiene initiatives is more important than ever.

As many families don’t have access to running water, staff got to work in discovering an affordable solution.

Simply fill an empty, clean jerry can with water and puncture a small hole in the bottom using a nail, hang it above a bucket, and you have an instant handwashing station. The nail can also be used to stop the flow of water when it’s not in use.

In Kenya, the cost and availability of water fluctuates, so staff also taught parents how to make their own hand sanitiser.

“We have provided provisions to every [child] and taught them how to make sanitisers so that when water is not available, they can still be safe,” says Mary.

Honduras

How these Compassion heroes are combating COVID-19 in their communities!

They might not be able to physically meet on the playground, but God’s love continues to unite sponsored children across Honduras in powerful ways!

When the country was placed on lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Compassion staff were determined to continue bringing hope to isolated families.

With approval from the President of Honduras and social distancing in mind, staff have been working day and night to deliver groceries and pray with children and families in need.

“We let them know that God is in control and we look forward to seeing the kids back in the centre soon,” says centre director Ninfa.

The children may be at home, but they’re still connecting with one another by sharing ‘day in the life’ videos with their classmates and tutors. Staff also stay connected with families by sharing Bible verses, worship songs, and prayers of encouragement via voice messages.

Although the children miss their friends and tutors, they still have hope knowing that God is always with them.

Dominican Republic

How these Compassion heroes are combating COVID-19 in their communities!

In the Dominican Republic, local church partners have gone above and beyond to raise awareness for the prevention of COVID-19 amongst families. Some have even connected with local radio stations to spread the message further!

Pastors and staff have reminded families how to correctly wash their hands and shared other prevention tips. Some centres have provided gift cards for parents to buy groceries, while others distributed food parcels.

“We are impressed by how our churches have responded to this pandemic. They have given preventative talks to children and caregivers. They have also distributed personal hygiene products, and within their plan, they are supplying food to those families who are most vulnerable,” says Keilin Baez, Health Specialist for Compassion Dominican Republic.

Even though the children can’t meet in person, staff continue to connect digitally with families.

The Philippines

How these Compassion heroes are combating COVID-19 in their communities!

The day before the metropolitan-wide quarantine began in Manila, Compassion centre staff distributed much-needed supplies to sponsored children and their families.

One of the first things children learn at their Compassion centre is handwashing—it soon becomes second nature to them. Today, the ingrained habit is one of the most powerful tools they have against the spread of COVID-19.

Compassion church partners are closely following government regulations that have been put in place in response to the pandemic.

“We advised all our children and staff to avoid social gatherings, and for the children to stay home. Any symptoms of fever or cough must be reported to our case workers immediately,” says Jan, a pastor at a local church.

Compassion centre staff remain in touch with families through technology and have a plan to follow if a child develops symptoms. Staff also support families through the delivery of food, vitamins and hygiene supplies.

Compassion Philippines’ National Director, Noel Pabiona, shares this encouragement:

“Be calm and confidently express our belief that God is in control and sovereign even with the way this virus is spreading. Any crisis is an opportunity to establish where Christ is in our lives. Psalm 56:3 says, ‘When I am afraid, I put my trust in you’.”

It’s amazing to see the way that God works through passionate people to continue to bring hope to children living in poverty. Thank you for enabling this work to continue.


A version of this blog was originally published by Compassion Canada.

Photos by Isaac Oglia, Javier Elis, Juana Ordonez Martinez, Edwin Estioko, and Yrahisa Mateo