A Chara,

We hope this letter finds you safe and well in these uncertain times. This is certainly not the letter I imagined writing as Easter approaches. Easter is traditionally a time of families coming together to celebrate rebirth and an awakening from the quietness and solitude of winter. It is a time of joy, when families and communities gather to celebrate the coming of spring and a time of renewal.

However, this Easter is very different. Instead of coming together, we are being told we must keep apart. Instead of celebrating the advent of summer, we are returning to hibernation, battening down the hatches to protect our nearest and dearest from the threat of illness. This, our dear friends, is an Easter none of us will forget. As ever, the health and wellbeing of our Vita teams and the communities we are so proud to serve, remains our primary concern. This virus is just another challenge to families in East Africa already facing huge adversary from the impacts of climate change and limited access to food and clean water.

We want to reassure you that our work will not stop. Our field teams continue to work with some of the world’s most vulnerable families in both Ethiopia and Eritrea. As I write this, our Ethiopian office staff have made the decision to work from home in order to best protect their communities. In Eritrea, our staff are working half-days and following government guidelines as they develop. We in Dublin continue to work remotely from West Cork, Kildare, Dublin, and Meath, and will continue our efforts to ensure these brave and indomitable families have every support they need to break out of this cycle of poverty.

We know that this is a time of financial uncertainty for many reading this. The queues and madness in supermarkets, the rush to buy hand sanitisers, the trolley baskets filled with bottled water; all these images will define Easter 2020 – yet curiously, our 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. Our families here and their families in rural Africa are closer together now than we ever thought we would be, especially as this horrible virus gains a foothold globally. 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.

I am sure that when we look back on Easter 2020, 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 global community – a family – that will always support each other. Thank you for being a part of Vita’s family – we will continue to work harder than ever to live up to our vision of a better, fairer, safer world for all.

Wishing you peace, health, and happiness and a hopeful Easter,

John Weakliam
CEO, Vita