The often-overlooked word in our title is United. During this time, we are in daily contact with our partners around the globe and it is clear that being united will help us get through it. The effects of the lock down are affecting all of our project leaders and young people, and by uniting and sharing the right information, we can inspire each other to take the right action at the right time and to eventually overcome this very challenging situation.
All indications are that the coronavirus will have its most devasting effects in deprived usually urban areas across the developing world, places where the majority of our teams and projects come from.
This International Day of Sport for Development and Peace we remembered the final of the first Street Child Cricket World Cup played at Lords last year. Four members of Team India North are from the Dharavi slum in Mumbai where over 1 million people live together in less than 1 square mile. Today Dharavi is a Coronavirus hot spot and we are concerned for those young people and their community. It goes without saying that social distancing and access to good hygiene are extremely challenging for street-connected young people.
The full impact to the Street Child United family hit home last week with the news that the husband of our Bolivian team Leader had succumbed to the Corona virus. Richard Sandoval, aged 50 was married to Claudia Gonzales, the leader of Team Bolivia who joined us at the Street Child World Cup in Moscow. Richard died without access to a ventilator or effective medical support and the hearts of everyone at Street Child United go out to Claudia, her two children and everyone at Fundación Alalay:
From our daily contact with teams across the World it’s clear that, whether in India, Pakistan, Brazil, Indonesia, Tanzania or the Philippines that in addition to the virus itself, many people in developing countries will likely die from the consequential effects of the virus and lock down – hunger, displacement and violence.
In Payatas, Philippines, where our team are based around a rag picking community, the market value of rubbish has collapsed leaving whole communities without money and food. In Chennai, India street dwelling families rely on day labouring and there is no labouring at the moment. Families typically have food for two or three days and have no financial reserves to fall back on.
Our projects and young people always find a way to inspire us, many of our young leaders are involved in promoting good hygiene and several of our projects are leading the way in feeding their communities whilst practising social distancing.
One of the strengths of our global family is that we can speak to each other daily and respond to needs quickly. Our partners are uniquely positioned to deliver essential support to the children and young people most in need in their communities.
We are not creating an emergency appeal at this time – simply supporting our projects, sharing best information and making sure they feel valued, listened to and that they are not alone. If you are able to donate to SCU during this time we will ensure that your funds are used to make a difference on the ground with our project partners over the coming days.
We will keep you informed of progress on our website and Twitter page and through our other social media channels and united, street children will overcome this.
With best wishes,