Tue 18, May 2021
“This challenging situation has caused us so much stress and made us overwhelmingly afraid of being infected by the virus. We also are very anxious because any recovery from the economic depression caused by COVID-19 is highly uncertain”.
These words were spoken by Oliva, aged 37, a mother of two children living in Bulongan, one of the barangays, or villages in Cebu in the Philippines. She is a farmer and her husband works on the production line of an export processing business in the city.
Before the pandemic, Oliva had taken on the leadership of her local farmers’ organization, supported by ABM’s partner, VIMROD. Things were going well for Oliva and the other members of the organization. They were learning new livelihoods and how to organize themselves to make the most of marketing their agricultural produce. And for Oliva, her husband’s work provided the family with enough money to meet their immediate needs.
But when COVID-19 came, Oliva’s husband’s company dramatically reduced their production and he had to cut back on his work hours. This meant the family could no longer meet their basic needs for food and health care.
Most of us in Australia can only try to imagine how it might feel to fear for our own health and that of our families, as well as coping with the underlying loss of livelihoods, which affects our ability to put food on the table, and which makes us more vulnerable to illness.
And it isn’t just Oliva and her family who have been affected in this way. Oliva’s is sadly a story that could be repeated all over the Philippines, and in many of the countries where ABM works.
In remote mountain villages in Myanmar where ABM’s partner, CPM, works, they have run out of basic food items, including rice and potatoes. This is because of the double effect of COVID-19 and the increase in outbreaks of armed ethnic conflict since the beginning of the coup.
In Kenya, ABM’s partner, ADSE, reports that the effects of COVID have been made worse by drought. Communities face inter-county lockdowns, meaning it is impossible to travel between one county and another, even to access markets to sell their products or to stay in touch with their children who are living with extended family members. Many families are currently surviving on only two meals a day because their financial reserves are finished and buying in expensive food is their only option. Alternative income sources such as basket-making are drying up because nobody can afford to buy baskets any more.
These very real human stories are playing out against a background of a frustratingly slow vaccine rollout in most of the world’s poorer countries.
It's sobering to realise that the world's wealthiest countries have administered about 45% of the world's vaccines, while the poorest countries have received just 1.3%. In most of the countries ABM’s partners work in, less than one percent of people have received their first dose.
Please give generously to ABM’s COVID-19 Tax Appeal to support our partners to take their first steps on a journey of hope.
Donations to this appeal are tax deductible.
Online: You can make an online donation to ABM's 2021 Covid-19 global emergency response tax APPEAL by clicking on the DONATE NOW button above.
Mail: you can enclose a cheque/money order (made out to the Anglican Board of Mission - Australia. Please include the campaign name ABM's 2021 Covid-19 global emergency response tax APPEAL with your donation) and send it to:
Anglican Board of Mission – Australia
Locked Bag Q4005
Queen Victoria Building NSW 1230
Telephone: Sydney 02 9264 1021, Local Call 1300 302 663
Gifts/donations to ABM will be applied to the support of project selected. In the unlikely event of this emergency response project being oversubscribed or not proceeding to completion, donations will be directed to ABM's Global Emergency Rapid Response Fund or ABM’s Global Disaster Risk Reduction Fund. These funds are similar in that they enable ABM to provide timely relief during an emergency, and help ABM’s partners to be better able to respond to disasters when they occur.