AVSI Uganda staff members Arinda John Bosco and Ruth Ninsiima, were selected as SCALE Facilitators of the Year (2020), while Graduating to Resilience Activity received the SCALE’s Creative Adaptation Award for Strongest COVID-19 Innovations.
During the cold month of December, while still largely stuck at home and with fewer than usual opportunities to be together, a number of individuals, families and friends decided to work together on a common initiative: raising awareness and funds for AVSI projects. Most groups made crafts of one kind or another and hosted sales or even went door to door. Another group of friends launched an on-line cooking class. People of all ages joined in, adults as well as kids as young as 5-years old, giving of their time, creativity and above all their love.
In early 2021, AVSI Brasil will open a new space in Brasília to temporarily host Venezuelan migrants moving to Brazil’s capital from the refugee centers in Roraima, near the border with Venezuela. The initiative is part of Welcomed Through Work, a project implemented by AVSI Brasil and The Migration and Human Rights Institute (IMDH) with funding from the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM).
Alice’s favorite time of the day is sunset. She and her husband wait for their six children to come back from school. They sit together around a cup of tea and talk about their day. But Alice’s routine was not always so pleasant. Before joining AVSI’s Better Outcomes project, returning home at sunset was a nightmare. Everything she earned would be spent on alcohol by Robinson, her husband, leaving nothing to buy food for their children. When she tried to talk with Robinson, he would inevitably raise his hand at her.
“It was draining,” remembers Alice. “I couldn’t bear seeing my children starving.”
The Beirut Explosion of August 4, 2020 left behind an explosion of feelings as its impact extended deeper and beyond the direct destruction of surrounding areas affecting the psychological conditions of people from different ages and diverse backgrounds.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is helping the most vulnerable people in Karantina heal from the trauma and psychological wounds caused by the devastating blast and rebuild a strong social structure of active survivors.
In September, 160 Venezuelan migrants took another step towards complete integration in their new country, Brazil. They completed an eight weeks Portuguese course offered by AVSI Brazil and received certificates indicating their proficiency in the new language. Implemented in partnership with the National Commercial Learning Center of Roraima (Senac/RR), the classes are part of the project Welcomed Through Work, funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.
The school year started in Ivory Coast on September 14, with children timidly returning back to their classrooms. Precautions such as wearing a mask, frequent handwashing and social distancing are taken seriously and enforced. Teachers are beginning the year with ‘catch-up’ classes to address the interruption which started back in March. AVSI is working alongside teachers, parents and students to ensure a smooth and safe transition back to school and ensuring that education continues. The activity is part of the USDA-funded project, “Integrated School Feeding and Literacy Program.”
AVSI is monitoring the continued development of the coronavirus pandemic in countries where we operate. We are aware of risks that local populations will face, especially having limited access to precarious health systems and already struggling with poverty, hunger, and conflict. AVSI staff continues to accompany our beneficiaries, following safety regulations implemented in each country. We are doing everything we can to ensure minimal interruption of our initiatives, which many people need even more right now. Below are some testimonials we have received from colleagues, who like all of us, have to adapt, be creative, and remain hopeful during these difficult times.
AVSI Foundation participated in the symposium “Advancing and Defending International Religious Freedom Through Diplomacy” organized by the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See in partnership with the Secretariat of State of the Holy See, on Wednesday, September 30, in Vatican City. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, and Mike Pompeo, U.S. Secretary of State, spoke at the event, which was hosted by Callista Gingrich, U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See.