As a small Irish NGO, we too are filled with the anxiety, uncertainty, and fear so many Irish communities are experiencing at the moment. Like many Irish workers, this week marks a new normal for the Vita team, as our Dublin and Ethiopian head offices begin remote working to ensure the safety and wellbeing of not just our staff, but of the general public. As ever, community health – be it our small family or the communities of our countries at large – remain our primary concern.
However, while this might be a time of uncertainty, financial insecurity, and fear in Ireland, we wanted to take a moment to reassure you that our work to bring life-transforming change to East Africa will not stop. Our field teams continue to work with some of the world’s most vulnerable families in both Ethiopia and Eritrea. We in Dublin will continue our efforts to ensure these brave and indomitable families have every support they need to break out of this cycle of poverty. In fact, our work has never been more important.
You see, the reality of this global pandemic is that while it does not recognise borders, gender, or social status, it will affect the most vulnerable of our societies the hardest. Those without food security or clean water, those without a stable income, those with poor health, underlying health issues and limited access to healthcare will be the worst-affected.
This virus is much like climate change, in that respect. While it will affect us all, it will not affect us all equally. It will be the communities least-equipped to handle this challenge that stand to lose the most – these are the communities we work with in East Africa.
With this in mind, we wanted to highlight all of the organisations out there who work 365 days a year to bring positive change to many families around the world. Whichever organisation or whatever cause you support, please remember them during this difficult time. Relying on public generosity to achieve what is often life-saving work, they will suffer greatly in this crisis, having to cancel fundraising events, campaigns and even sacrificing volunteers and staff in the interest of public health. Kindness has never been more critical.
We know that this is a time of financial uncertainty for many reading this and your generosity will be prevailed upon. We don’t wish to ask for anything but rather to leave you with something – this thought for the day:
While the queues and madness in supermarkets, the rush to buy hand sanitisers, the trolley baskets filled with bottled water has been scary for many of us, this sudden fear over whether we’ll have enough food, or money to buy food, is not unusual but rather a fact of life for many people around the world. Lack of access to food and water, lack of basic hygiene products, and the stress of fear of deprivation is the daily reality for many of the families we work with in East Africa. This is why our mission to enable families to be self–sustainable and free of aid is more important now than ever, and we are more committed to our partner communities than we have ever been.
When we look back on these first months of 2020, we know it won’t be the feeling of isolation or fear we will remember but a sense of solidarity, pride and hope and a renewed faith in our ability to be a community – a family – that will always support each other. Let’s show how far our support can go and just how much it can achieve – even when confined to the comfort of our own homes.
Stay safe, keep well,
The Vita Team.