How do you change people and communities when you cannot go near them? When the government of Kyrgyzstan forbade gathering in groups of more than 3 and traveling more than 1.5 kilometers from home, our staff felt stymied and depressed.
We talked with friends who struggled to get necessary food for their families but didn’t know what to do. But a friend had an idea. We can all get to food stores. We can all go out in our neighborhoods. So, we pooled our funds, got a matching grant and set to work.
We connected with neighborhood leaders to find the neediest households and gave bags of staples. Already we have made connections that could lead to training opportunities in the future. Sometimes to do development, you have to offer some relief!
As part of our emergency relief work during the pandemic shutdown, some members of the health project team distributed their phone numbers for people to call if they just needed to talk.
Mira* had a long conversation with a woman who is struggling with depression and the stress of being locked down. Mira plans to have further contact, drawing on materials from health project lessons on these topics.
Mira, along with Pat*, have talked with pregnant women with questions about birth and pregnancy. Again, our staff have been able to give sound advice.
During telephone intervention, Pat connected with a woman who wants to organize one of our health seminars for people she knows.
Emergency relief can lead to long-term development. Even with regular projects shut down, we are developing communities.