Changing gears; Not slowing down

A message from our Executive Director

The past few weeks have been difficult. For everyone. And while we individually face uncertain times in our homes, health, jobs, and communities, one thing is certain, a crisis like this shows us – reminds us – of the value of community, the strength of human spirit, and of the capacity of individuals to come together in support of one another.

Even as we are feeling insecure about our own individual futures, we see the importance of looking after others – our neighbours, our communities, our world. We see the importance of solidarity. We see the need for generosity to help the most vulnerable. We see the HOPE.

The theme of last year’s Development Dinner, SEE THE HOPE, has perhaps never before been so poignant. As we witness change at such a rapid speed – we also see the rate at which people respond cooperatively to protect the vulnerable people they’ll never meet. And it is beautiful. At Change for Children, we are focused on that HOPE as we continue our work to protect vulnerable people that most will never meet in places most will never venture.

While news of the pandemic has reached the remote communities we work with in Nicaragua and Guatemala, the same can not necessarily be said of accurate information on how to prevent its spread. At this time, Change for Children is pivoting – working with our partner organizations and through our existing projects in Nicaragua to distribute soap, bleach, and hand sanitizer, and to educate communities about health, hygiene and social distancing. Guatemala project partner, AMMID, is disseminating information through radio, social media, and the local television while promoting and supporting rain water capture and household gardens to reduce the need for people to leave their homes.

In the same way that technology is being used in new ways in many of our own households for communication and education in response to current circumstances, the technology that our projects have placed with water committees, in schools, and in communities across Central America will be used for new purpose as we continue to communicate with the most remote communities and to support them as they begin to react to the pandemic.

We have been meeting regularly (virtually) with our colleagues in the international development sector –both in Alberta and nationally – to collectively advocate for support to facilitate our response to COVID-19 in developing countries, as well as to the economic collapse that will follow. COVID-19 does not recognize borders and can only be overcome through coordinated action all around the world. (Read the latest from Global Affairs Canada on Canada’s support for international efforts to fight the pandemic).

Encouraged by the moving acts of kindness and spirit of solidarity that brings us hope here at home, we are confident that if and when the virus spreads to countries ill-equipped to manage community healthcare let alone a crisis, that Canadians will respond – extending beyond borders the very same value of community, the strength of human spirit, and the capacity of individuals to come together in support of one another that we have witnessed here at home. We – the whole wide world – are in this together.

Strength. Human Spirit. Community.