voh africa staying safe during covid-19

This Week: Staying Safe During COVID-19

Important Update

In the upcoming weeks, you will notice that our Weekly News posts and blogs will be a little different. We have made some changes due to COVID-19. We want to stay connected with you and keep you updated on how things are going at our various Villages; however, we also want to ensure we are following all government regulations and World Health Organization guidelines to ensure the health and safety of our children and staff. Here are some things that will be different: 

  • We are no longer holding any events or gatherings, so updates will be related to construction, COVID-19 prevention methods, and staff/children stories.
  • We no longer require photos with each story, this means some stories will have photos and others won’t. This is to ensure no one has to leave home in order to take a picture for a weekly news story.
  • We are giving each Village the flexibility to skip a week in order to give our Directors a break when they need it.
  • We will also include occasional updates on the presence of COVID-19 in Africa and, specifically, in the countries where we work. Please do not rely on us as your primary news source, though. Please follow reputable news sites for more thorough, and up-to-date information. Our updates will be brief and will be dated and sourced.

We encourage you to read this important update from our Executive Director if you haven’t yet. 

Please continue to support our work during these uncertain times through child sponsorship and donations.

Here are the stories for this week…

COVID-19 In Africa

Major African stats as of April 14, 6 am GMT:

  • Confirmed cases: 15,346
  • Number of deaths: 835
  • Recoveries: 2,946
  • Infected countries: 52
  • Virus-free countries: 2 (Lesotho, Comoros)

Updates from where we work as of April 14, 6 am GMT:

  • Burundi: 5 cases
  • Malawi: 16 cases
  • Tanzania: 49 cases
  • Zambia: 45 cases
  • Zimbabwe: 17 cases

(source: africanews.com)

Kitwe (Zambia): Distributing HEPS Porridge

This week at VOH Kitwe although the school is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the school leadership is finding ways to safely distribute homework to our students.

We also organized individual packs of HEPS porridge (from our feeding program) for our children. We invited the children’s caregivers to come and collect the HEPS at the Village. As with everything we are doing, we are following the W.H.O. guidelines throughout this process.

We are grateful that we can continue providing nutrition to those in our program. We will continue to work as a team to initiate methods of keeping the children cared for even when school is closed.

Luongo (Zambia): Providing Food and Medical Care

Despite school being closed at VOH Luongo due to COVID-19, the children are still coming to the Village to receive their HEPS porridge.

The process looks different as we are observing physical distancing protocols. It takes longer to distribute, but we are thankful we can continue our feeding program safely.

We are also providing medical care as needed. This past week a child had an injury at their home in the Luongo Community and we took them to the main hospital. We are grateful to report they are now home and recovering well.

We would like to thank our sponsors and supporters for allowing us to continue caring for the children in our program during this challenging and unusual time.

Mwanza (Tanzania): Celebrating Easter

It was a different kind of Easter weekend at VOH Mwanza but we did our best to try and make it special for all of our kids.

Community kids (who are at home, as there is no school) and those who live on-site at the Village received an Easter story colouring packet and some crayons and sweets to help them celebrate Easter and learn about the Easter story at home.

In addition, our Chaplin put together an Easter devotional package for each housemother so they could reflect on the Easter story together with the kids in their home as we are not doing any large gatherings.

Though it was not a typical Easter weekend, we’re grateful for the staff who worked hard to ensure this weekend still had meaning for the kids!

Zimbabwe: Staying Safe at the Clinic

At VOH Zimbabwe we have implemented strict measures in line with the World Health Organization to protect our children and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have strict screening measures for all patients before they come into the clinic for medical care. People are still suffering from other ailments and we are here to assist them safely.

This Week: Life During COVID-19

Important Update

In the upcoming weeks, you will notice that our Weekly News posts and blogs will be a little different. We have made some changes due to COVID-19. We want to stay connected with you and keep you updated on how things are going at our various Villages; however, we also want to ensure we are following all government regulations and World Health Organization guidelines to ensure the health and safety of our children and staff. Here are some things that will be different: 

  • We are no longer holding any events or gatherings, so updates will be related to construction, COVID-19 prevention methods, and staff/children stories.
  • We no longer require photos with each story, this means some stories will have photos and others won’t. This is to ensure no one has to leave home in order to take a picture for a weekly news story.
  • We are giving each Village the flexibility to skip a week in order to give our Directors a break when they need it.
  • We will also include occasional updates on the presence of COVID-19 in Africa and, specifically, in the countries where we work. Please do not rely on us as your primary news source, though. Please follow reputable news sites for more thorough, and up-to-date information. Our updates will be brief and will be dated and sourced.

We encourage you to read this important update from our Executive Director if you haven’t yet. 

Here are the stories for this week…

Bulale (Tanzania): New Classroom Block!

At VOH Bulale things are quiet. Schools have been closed in Tanzania and so our students are at home for the time being. However, this has given us a good opportunity to forge ahead with the construction of our new classroom block.

Up until now, our construction team had been working around school hours to avoid disturbing classes. Now we have the opportunity to pick up the pace on the construction project.

Our classroom block now has a roof, which means when students do come back, construction will be done and they will have a new building to study in!

Kitwe (Zambia): Life During COVID-19

At VOH Kitwe our school is closed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The VOH children from the surrounding community, however, can continue accessing medical services at the Village when needed.

We are also ensuring they continue to receive a meal through our feeding program while also following the World Health Organization’s guidelines for social distancing.

Today, our Director, Everlyn Chitente, met with the children living in the Children’s Homes. They met outside, one home at a time, and she talked with them about what is happening and asked how they are feeling. She also shared an encouraging message from Uncle Serge, our Executive Director.

Luongo (Zambia): Staying Connected While School is Closed

Recently the senior teacher at the VOH Luongo school visited with the children from our feeding program. She asked them how they are doing and ensured they are aware of and are following the government and the World Health Organization’s guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19. She also gave them some homework so they can keep their minds active and not fall too far behind in their studies.

Mwanza (Tanzania): Time for Maintenance!

With schools currently closed in Tanzania, VOH Mwanza is taking the opportunity to do extra maintenance work at our newest site, Nyasaka Centre.

We have done some repairs, ensuring we will soon have electricity connected and resolve some water issues we’ve been having. We also did some painting and added some artwork to the building, including our name, so the community knows who we are!

We are excited to see the children’s reactions to the new artwork when they return to school!

Zimbabwe: Porridge Packs

COVID-19 has changed the way we care for our children at VOH Zimbabwe. We are washing our hands regularly and following social distancing guidelines.

Also, We delivered porridge packs to the VOH children who don’t live on-site. The children were very grateful for the porridge packs and we will continue to do all we can to ensure they are happy and safe during this time.

COVID-19: An Important Update from our Executive Director

Dear Friends,

I hope that you are safe and well during these challenging times.

In light of the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we want to make our VOH community aware of our response as we continue to bring hope to children in need in Africa. Although the countries where our VOH Centers are located have not been impacted to the degree that we have been here in Canada, we are beginning to see some initial confirmed cases throughout the continent.

It is our full intention to continue providing care to the children at VOH. The way that we do this, however, may in some cases look different than usual as we comply with all measures and laws being set by the various local governments where we work.

We have directed all VOH Africa locations to comply with government measures being put in place. We are further asking all of our VOH centers to comply with the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations for the prevention of contracting and/or spreading COVID-19.

Even in the midst of this crisis, VOH Africa and each of its centers will continue to uphold our child safeguarding policy to ensure every VOH child is protected.

We are thankful for the caring and dedicated men and women who provide leadership and care for the children at our 10 VOH locations. Among these are Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (PAOC) global workers and volunteers. These Global Workers are communicating directly with the PAOC regarding their safety and wellbeing. As VOH Africa, we support the decisions made by Global Workers as they plan their personal response to this pandemic.

We have suspended all upcoming teams and volunteers until further notice. We have also cancelled all events and public gatherings until local governments and the World Health Organization state it is safe to return to regular activities.

In the upcoming weeks, we will continue to share the changes we are implementing at each Village in order to adhere to local authorities and recommendations by the WHO. The safety and wellbeing of our staff and those in our care is our primary concern.

If you are looking for ways to support us during this time, here are some ways you can help:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank each of you for your faithful support and prayers. Without you, we would not be able to provide the care that we do and hope to continue to provide during these uncertain times.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4: 6-7).

Sergio Bersaglio
Executive Director: VOH Africa

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