Abuya* lives in sub-Saharan Africa. She is a widow and the sole caregiver to 14 grandchildren. She has no means of making a consistent income and con hardly afford one meal a day to split among them. Her family has had to rely on the generosity of others ever since her husband and all four children died, some succumbing to AIDS and others to COVID-19. The most recent loss in her life—that of her son—is still so fresh that Abuya can barely get through the story of his battle with the coronavirus without bringing all her listeners to tears.
Though many families in sub-Saharan Africa have the highest risk factors for contracting the coronavirus—including exposure to infectious diseases and chronic malnutrition—they are among the population who have the least access to information needed to stop the spread of COVID-19.
One village in particular had extremely high rates of undernutrition and starvation, as well as a high population of vulnerable children, elderly people and disabled youth. This, combined with the lack of knowledge surrounding preventative hygiene and health practices, has made the community extremely susceptible to COVID-19 outbreaks.
When Send Relief teams became aware of this village’s situation, our local church partners sprang into action.
Team leaders began educating villagers about the effects and impact of the pandemic, which helped them understand the importance of implementing preventative health measures. Through trainings on handwashing, social distancing, shelter-in-place and hygiene guidelines, local leaders were able to share what was happening with their communities.
Food distributions were held regularly to combat the rampant undernutrition, and soap and face masks were given to the community’s most vulnerable—nearly 5,000 people.
Abuya’s family is one of the families receiving assistance. Because of your gifts, Abuya and her family were guaranteed two months’ worth of nutritious meals. She expressed her gratitude for this gift, saying, “I will not go to sleep with an empty stomach for weeks because of Baptist generosity.”
Because a local church was the main partner involved, many families learned about the hope of the gospel and the church family available to them. The church also became known for its involvement in the surrounding communities, and the region’s government was so impressed with their investment that they have partnered with the congregation for future projects. Our local partner shared, “As the Bible teaches, more now is expected of us by the local administration and community members from the little the Lord enabled us to do as we served His people at such a [difficult] time as this. He who is faithful with little, more is expected of him.”
Pray for more doors to evangelism and closed communities to be opened and for these hurting families to find ways to continue feeding their children.
*Name changed for security.
Published December 15, 2020