Africa in the Path of Covid-19 and Our Steadfast Support

Africa in the Path of Covid-19 and Our Steadfast Support

Medicine Distribution to Health Centers in Sierra Leone

“While so much about the virus and how it operates remains unclear, sub-Saharan Africa so far has dodged a deadly wave of coronavirus cases.” — The Washington Post, September 22, 2020

While that may be true in terms of confirmed cases and deaths, the impact of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic is being felt throughout sub-Saharan Africa as many low- and now no-income Africans are struggling to just get enough to eat.

In countries such as Zambia and Zimbabwe, our partners the Kabawta Orphanage and Transit Centre and the Lerato Children’s Village respectively, are relying on an additional grant funding from Bread and Water for Africa® to purchase food for the orphaned and destitute children in their care in the face of rampant inflation where the prices of basic foodstuffs are increasing on a daily basis.

In Sierra Leone, where thankfully as of September 23, there have been just 72 coronavirus-related deaths, Bread and Water for Africa® and our partner there, Rural Youth Development Organization – Sierra Leone (RYDO-SL), have been working hand-in-hand to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

This summer, RYDO-SL program manager Joseph Ngoniyela Kobba, turned to Bread and Water for Africa® with an urgent plea for assistance in providing materials and supplies to make reusable face masks.

“The use of face masks by the target communities to impede COVID-19 transmission will limit the contact of infected individuals via physical distancing and contact tracing with appropriate quarantine and secondly reduce the transmission probability per contact by wearing face masks in public among other measures,” said Joseph.

“The decreased transmission will reduce the death rate and economic impact, while the cost of locally-made face masks is low.”

Throughout the sub-Saharan African countries where we work, the numbers of deaths and confirmed cases is just a very small percentage of the millions of cases and more than 200,000 deaths we have experienced here in the United States, the total number of deaths in those countries is reaching 3,000 according to the World Health Organization with: Cameroon – 416 deaths, 20,598 confirmed cases, with a population of 18.8 million; Chad – 81, 1,153, 10.3 million; Ethiopia – 1,108, 69,709, 85.2 million; Kenya – 650, 37,079, 39 million; Sierra Leone – 72, 2168, 6.1 million; Uganda – 63, 6,468, 32.3 million; Zambia – 331, 14,175, 11.8 million; and Zimbabwe – 225, 7,683, 11.3 million.

In addition, this year we have provided hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of medical supplies to our partners in Sierra Leone such as (RYDO-SL) and Ethiopia, such as  Haramaya  University community hospitals and clinics, where medicines and medical supplies are desperately needed.

In countries which have closed schools due to the pandemic, such as in Cameroon, Chad, and Sierra Leone, we have received reports that classes will be resuming soon in a safe and responsible manner at which time we will be able to resume our school fee program providing hundreds of children the opportunity to get an education.

And in Uganda, while our water protection project in cooperation with our partner there, Bega Kwa Bega, to prevent springs that serve numerous communities was put on hold, we are pleased to report that it has now resumed.

All of what we have been able to accomplish this year to help prevent the spread of coronavirus and save lives is due wholly to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®, without which none of this would have been possible.

More than Ever, We Need to Invest More on the Future of Sierra Leone Students

More than Ever, We Need to Invest More on the Future of Sierra Leone Students

In Sub-Saharan African countries such as Sierra Leone, the coronavirus pandemic has closed schools for months and because the vast majority have been unable to make the transition to online education, school closures have widening the pre-existing gap between how much rich children and poor children learn.

In Sierra Leone, it is estimated that only less than 5% of students have access to a computer at home, and more than half live in households that don’t even have electricity. In the world’s poorest countries, as many as 80 percent of children cannot read by age 10, and as school closures drag on, this crisis risks becoming a catastrophe.

But in Sierra Leone, we are seeing hope.

Schools in Sierra Leone closed for eight months in 2014-2015 to stop the spread of Ebola, and today the country is using the lessons learned during that crisis to provide inclusive remote learning as only 13 percent of the country’s households are connected to the internet.

And as the COVID-19 pandemic is stabilizing in the country, our longtime partner there, Rev. Francis Mambu, founder and executive director of Faith Healing Development Organization (FHDO) which operates several primary and secondary schools, informed us recently nursery schools have already reopened with, primary and secondary schools for follow next month.

According to CNBC Africa, as of September 8, there have been just over 2,000 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in the country and a total of 71 deaths in a country with a population of eight million residents, and government and school officials have determined that it is safe for students to return to classrooms, with precautions.

Thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®, over the years we have been able to assist Rev. Mambu and FHDO construct schools and add classrooms, supplement teachers’ salaries so they can continue support themselves, and most importantly, provide scholarships and assist with the school fees for hundreds of students who attend FHDO’s five primary schools and four secondary schools which serve a combined student body population of 533 boys and 515 girls, 1,048  students in all.

Among those who are able to attend FHDO’s Logos Academy, thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® is Ernest, whose mother is a petty trader selling rice and spices at a local market, and father is a police officer working as a security guard.

Rev. Mambu tells us that Ernest has a passion to become a medical doctor and the drive and determination to make his dream a reality. Even though both his parents work, their meager incomes are barely enough to keep the family fed and a roof over their heads,  and it is only through the Bread and Water for Africa® school fee assistance program that this bright, promising student can continue his education.

Our Journey Fighting Illiteracy in Africa Continues on Through Pandemic

Our Journey Fighting Illiteracy in Africa Continues on Through Pandemic

Today, September 8, is the United Nations’ International Literacy Day which this year focuses on “Literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.” The theme highlights literacy learning in a lifelong learning perspective, and therefore, mainly focuses on youth and adults.

“The recent COVID-19 crisis have been a stark reminder of  the existing gap between policy discourse and reality: a gap that already existed in the pre-COVID-19 era and negatively affects the learning of youth and adults, who have no or low literacy skills, and therefore, tend to face multiple disadvantages,” states the UN.

At Bread and Water for Africa®, for more than 20 years — long before the current coronavirus pandemic which is creating great educational hardships for children and youth throughout Sub-Saharan Africa — thanks to our supporters we have been providing educational opportunities for thousands of students, specifically in the area of literacy the foundation of learning, by constructing schools and classroom additions, as well as paying school fees for students who would otherwise have no opportunity for an education.

Over the years and decades, some 15,000 students have been able to attend schools we have constructed, such as the Kipkeino Primary School and the Kebeneti Secondary School in Kenya, as well as schools in Sierra Leone, and had their school fees paid in the knowledge that education is the key to their success in the future and a life out of dire poverty.

In addition, nearly 200,000 students in Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Uganda and elsewhere have benefited from the tens of thousands of school and text books we have shipped to the libraries of dozens of schools and universities for use by students and faculty members since 2014.

Since the coronavirus began in March forcing countless schools throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, we have continued our mission of working with our partners in countries including Cameroon, Chad ,Ethiopia, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe to ensure children are able to continue their educations despite the massive challenges they face due to a lack of resources, persistent nationwide blackouts and no available internet service which creates not just a digital divide — but a digital chasm — that must be overcome.

Today, on International Literacy Day, we thank all of our supporters who made what we do possible, and continue to help us and our partners in our ongoing mission of educating children throughout the African continent regardless of the devastating pandemic.

Thank You: For many years you have lived by Proverbs 19:17 to give hope to thousands of orphaned children throughout Africa!

Thank You: For many years you have lived by Proverbs 19:17 to give hope to thousands of orphaned children throughout Africa!

Dear Supporter of Bread and Water for Africa®,

September 5 is the United Nations’ International Day of Charity which was declared by the UN General Assembly in 2012 to commemorate the anniversary of the passing away of Mother Teresa who devoted her life to helping the destitute.

For more than 45 years, she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned and dying, while guiding the Missionaries of Charity’s expansion, first in India and then in other countries around the world, including hospices and homes for the poorest and homeless.

For more than 20 years, Bread and Water for Africa® has strived to live up to the ideals of Mother Teresa by providing loving homes for thousands of orphaned, abandoned and destitute African children in Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

And on this year’s International Charity Day on Saturday, we dedicate this day to our supporters across the country who live by the words of Proverbs 19:17,Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed”.                                         

literally saving lives of countless children who no doubt would’ve lived short lives struggling on the streets of urban cities and rural villages with no one to care for and love them.

In Kenya, our international spokesperson, Phyllis Keino, provides a loving home for dozens of children at the Lewa Children’s Home where they receive three meals a day, a warm bed to sleep in each night, healthcare and hope for a brighter future through education, as does our longtime partner in Zimbabwe, Margaret Makambira, founder and director of Shinga Development Trust which operates the Lerato Children’s Village, constructed and supported thanks to our supporters.

In Zambia, another of our longtime partners, Angela Miranda, founder and director of the Kabwata Orphanage and Transit Centre, has cared for 1,424 children both Zambian and non-Zambian refugees fleeing violence in other surrounding countries since our partnership begin in 1998 and through 2019.

In addition, again thanks to our supporters, Angela has been able to provide aid to 517 children living in foster care and food support to 216 more during that period.

And through Kabwata, 98 children and youth who lived there were able to enroll in higher education, and of those, 60 secured professional jobs, something practically unthinkable when they arrived there as impoverished infants, toddlers, youth children and youth with no home, no family and not knowing where they next meal would come from or where they would be sleeping that night.

Mrs. Miyanda is very proud of her work and the children she has raised, many of whom are now successful professionals including engineers, teachers, nurses, health inspectors, members of the Zambian Air Force and Navy, police officers, administrative professionals, social workers, marketing professionals, bankers and bakers.

Currently, the home houses 53 children, ranging in age from 2 months to 16 years. In addition, 13 children over 16 live in supervised homes and 33 children live with extended family members or in foster care arrangements throughout the community and receive regular support from Kabwata.

Kabwata children are a great example of how orphaned, abandoned and destitute children can become successful citizens when opportunities are available, and support is provided.

“Charity, like the notions of volunteerism and philanthropy, provides real social bonding and contributes to the creation of inclusive and more resilient societies,” notes the UN. “Charity can alleviate the worst effects of humanitarian crises, supplement public services in health care, education, housing and child protection. It assists the advancement of culture, science, sports, and protection of cultural and natural heritage.”

Thank you for all you do on behalf of the children of Africa,

Sincerely,

Bethlehem Tessema

Executive Director

Bread and Water for Africa 

COVID-19 Pandemic Rises Throughout Sub-Saharan Africa

COVID-19 Pandemic Rises Throughout Sub-Saharan Africa

Community members outside the Mokoba clinic wearing reusable face masks made by a local tailor  with materials provided by Bread and Water for Africa.

Throughout the African continent, which had been spared thebrunt of COVID-19 pandemic in terms of confirmed cases and death as compared to the United States and Europe, the impact of the coronavirus is making a hard life for impoverished villages and the residents of urban slums even more so. But today, with already rampant inflation in countries where our partners work, such as Zambia and Zimbabwe making it harder and harder with each passing day to provide food to the children in their care, the coronavirus is making significant inroads.

Just over five months ago, the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Africa, raising concerns about the continent’s readiness to handle an outbreak, reported the World Bank on August 25. By August 7, Africa’s case-count surpassed one million.

“The economic impacts of COVID-19 lockdowns and border restrictions have been severe, exacerbating poverty and social impacts,” stated the World Bank. “Compared with pre-crisis forecasts, COVID-19 could push 71 million into extreme poverty by the end of this year. More than a third of the projected poor will be in Sub-Saharan Africa which is facing its first recession in 25 years.”

At Bread and Water for Africa® we are doing all we can to provide emergency assistance to our partners in orphan care, the Kabwata Orphanage and Transit Centre in Zambia, and Shinga Development Trust’s Lerato Children’s Village in Zimbabwe, Lewa Childrens Home in Kenya, as well as continuing to provide medicines and medical supplies to our partners’ clinics and hospitals in Ethiopia and Sierra Leone – all thanks to our compassionate and generous supporters who make it possible

A Tribute to Bishop John K. Yambasu, the Resident Bishop of the Sierra Leone Area of The United Methodist Church

A Tribute to Bishop John K. Yambasu, the Resident Bishop of the Sierra Leone Area of The United Methodist Church

Bishop John Yambasu of Sierra Leone gives the sermon during morning worship at the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore. File photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.

It is with personal, heartfelt sadness that I must report the sudden, tragic death of Bishop John K. Yambasu, the Resident Bishop of the Sierra Leone Area of The United Methodist Church, who died in a road accident on August 16 just outside Freetown while on his way to preach a funeral service for one of his ministers.

Bread and Water for Africa® has been working with the United Methodist Church of Sierra Leone for more than 12 years where we are partners in health care having shipped hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of medicines, medical supplies and equipment to UMC-SL clinics over the years, as well as education and emergency relief support.

Through our partnership with UMC-SL, our shared mission is to provide and deliver quality, compassionate and personalized health care services to the impoverished people in the communities such as Rotifunk, Kulanda Town, Manonkoh, Jaiama Nimikoro, Taiama Town and Moyowa Jong where they operate clinics.

As the UMC-SL noted in May, the result has been an uninterrupted supply of drugs, making for the constant availability of essential medicines always at the ready and allowing for fees to be affordable to even those of low income, or even free for the impoverished, while maintaining a high standard of quality care.

This partnership has provided “immediate emergency care for thousands of vulnerable Sierra Leoneans who were in desperate need and experiencing life-threatening health conditions,” stated the UMC-SL.

“The donated medicines and medical supplies were well-timed and with the colossal need, consequently produced a significant effect on the eight United Methodist Church Health facilities at this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients – women, children, adolescents, men, and the elderly, now received free treatment with medicines. Once more, thank you for your continued support.”

I had the honor of meeting Bishop Yambasu about five years ago on a visit to UMC-SL clinics supported by Bread and Water for Africa® and found him to be, as expected, very kind and genial, and a great soldier in spreading the gospel of Christ, as well as a visionary who cared deeply for all humanity, especially his people of Sierra Leone.

Bishop Yambasu, who would have turned 64 on August 24, was well-known and beloved throughout Sierra Leone and the United Methodist Church community worldwide.

“Bishop Yambasu’s untimely death is stunning news to The United Methodist Church. Bishop Yambasu’s undeniable love and passion for the church has been evident in his area and throughout The United Methodist Church,” said Council of Bishops President Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, who also noted that her heart aches for Bishop Yambasu’s family.

“Our hearts are broken, and we’re devastated by this sudden departure of Bishop Yambasu. This is a great blow to the people called United Methodists! It is our hope and prayers that God will comfort the family in particular and The United Methodist family at large. May his soul rest in perfect peace,” said Bishop Samuel Quire of the Liberia Episcopal Area.

But perhaps Bishop Billy K. Simbo, Bishop Emeritus, Sierra Leone Conference, Church of the United Brethren in Christ, who described Bishop Yambasu as a true brother and friend, put it best when he stated, “HE DIED IN ACTIVE DUTY!”

With sad regards,

Bethelhem Tessema

Executive Director

Bread and Water for Africa®