While 2020 was a challenging year for all of us in the United States, so was the case in the sub-Saharan African countries where we work.
While we are thankful that the COVID-19 pandemic has not caused a severe outbreak resulting in tens of thousands of deaths as originally feared, the impact by coronavirus on the economies of countries like Zambia and Zimbabwe has been significant with rampant inflation for basic food staples making it difficult for our partners who provide loving homes for orphaned and abandoned children to keep those in their care adequately fed as prices rise on a practically daily basis.
But thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®, we have been able to provide emergency grant funding to our partners including the Kabwata Orphanage and Transit Centre in Zambia and the Lerato Children’s Village in Zimbabwe to ensure none of the children living there are going hungry.
Throughout sub-Saharan Africa, schools were forced to close by the pandemic, but unlike here in the U.S., few – if any – impoverished African families have computers and access to high-speed broadband internet so the educations of tens of thousands of African children whose greatest wish is to attend school has come to a standstill.
In Sierra Leone, we are helping to ease hunger by educating female farmers on how to make the best use of their small tracts of land, providing farming equipment to our partners including Faith Healing Development Organization and Rural Youth Development Organization – Sierra Leone to enable them to significantly increase their crop production.
And while we have learned in 2020 nothing is certain regarding the end of the coronavirus, we are hopeful with the vaccines becoming available that we will be able to continue the good work our supporters have been enabling us to do for more than 20 years.
In 2021, as the government in Uganda has recently lifted COVID-19 restrictions enabling us to resume working with our partner there, Bega Kwa Bega (Shoulder to Shoulder in Kiswahili), to protect spring water sites from human and animal contamination, we are planning on expanding the program to 15 sites in the coming year, providing safe, clean water for an estimated 3,750 Ugandans in remote villages.
While undoubtedly, healthcare will remain a pressing concern as it always has, and which has been exacerbated by the pandemic, Bread and Water for Africa® remains committed to shipping hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of medicines and medical supplies and equipment to our partners in Ethiopia and Sierra Leone who operate hospitals and clinics at low, or no, the cost to impoverished African children, mothers, and elders.
“In providing COVID-19 impact support, Bread and Water for Africa® is remaining anchored to our mission of “providing a brighter future for Africa’s children,” notes Bread and Water for Africa® Executive Director Beth Tessema. “That is, rather than providing unsustainable, temporary relief-focused support, we are providing support in the form of health care, clean water development, food self-sustainability and education programs.”