SITUATION IN CAMBODIA (updated May 12th)
Cambodia has detected zero new COVID-19 cases in 33 days.
The total number of cases reported to date, from the first case reported on January 27th at Sihanoukville to the last reported case on April 12 in Phnom Penh, remains at 122. 121 of these people have recovered. There are still one COVID-19 positive patients undergoing hospitalization and treatment in Phnom Penh.
Schools remain closed. According to a government communiqué, they may reopen in November 2020, or earlier if the situation improves.
While reported cases in Cambodia have remained low, the country has been deeply impacted by other effects of the pandemic. Containment, border closures, and the halt in tourism have forced businesses to close, leaving our community without income or employment. Those who already lived in vulnerable situations, like many Anjali parents, are struggling to feed themselves and their children.
ANJALI’S PRIORITIES AND PROGRAMS
We are committed to serving our community during this difficult time and meeting their changing needs. We will adapt our program and services to support our children and their parents. Our priority is ensuring that Anjali families are healthy, safe, and well-fed.
We are fundraising for a COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund for families who are struggling to feed themselves. With the money raised so far, we can cover food and other essential supplies for all 101 Anjali House families until November. Our caregivers can now breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that they and their children will have food to survive this pandemic.
On May 12, 16 families came to Anjali to collect their COVID-19 emergency relief packages. These packages included food like rice, noodles, and eggs, essential supplies like soap, and additional items like clothes and shoes.
On May 18, 34 families will come get their food for the month.
We are continuing to provide homework books and online learning support. Our families are very enthusiastic about our home gardening program and library lending service. Many of them asked for more seeds to plant at home, and for new books to give their children. We will provide counseling about their financial situations, how to continue their children’s education at home, and more. Our social worker will also start online parent workshops in the coming weeks.
Following Khmer New Year, the Cambodian government announced that educational services like schools and NGOs will remain closed indefinitely. On Monday, 20th April, in accordance with social distancing procedures, our team met to discuss how we can further support our families and children.
Beginning Monday, 27th April, we started providing emergency food and health packages to Anjali families who are in urgent need of support. We started with 10 families who are majority single parent households, supporting as many as five children off an annual income of $0 to $1500. These parents are facing unemployment and debt, with absolutely no safety net. We are in the process of speaking to all our families and assessing who else will need these packages in the coming months.
In addition to this emergency support, we continued our educational work. Following the successful distribution of our first homework book, our team created new lessons for pick up. Anjali coaches work with our children online every day from 8 – 10 AM. Our volunteers developed special activities for our youngest learners, like learning challenges or art projects.
While following necessary health procedures, we are making Anjali’s art and education supplies, like colored pencils and flashcards, available to each family. Our librarian, Sophim, started a new program to allow families to borrow Anjali’s books. Each family can sign out 1-2 books per child.
We put in place safe ways to distribute seeds from our garden to families in need, thanks to our social worker, Samen, and long-term volunteer, Annie. We will encourage parents and children to plant vegetables at home, which will lower their food expenses and teach new skills. Families who come to get seeds will have access to gardening tips and education online from our team.
Anyone who came to pick up emergency packages, learning supplies, or seeds from Anjali received informational brochures in Khmer on COVID-19.
Our center has been closed since Monday, 9 March, in accordance with government orders.
As a first step, we provided workshops to all our students in February about the virus, potential symptoms, and health and hygiene practices they and their families should follow, like proper hand washing techniques. We continued to provide health information to our community online.
Although our center was closed, our team worked remotely: our coaches created lessons and developed a homework book that was printed and available for pick up. Over 51 families came to get materials for their children. Our team organized online group learning for students and support for families.