As the pandemic keeps raging around the world, it has become more and more evident that access to distance learning is uneven, with huge disparities based on income and geography. Globally, parents struggle to fill the gap, and there is a well-founded fear that the most vulnerable children will not catch up with their learning goals. At the beginning of the Summer, AVSI-USA launched the campaign “Let’s go Back to School.” The main goal was to help our partners in Uganda, Lebanon, and Ecuador prepare vulnerable children to go back to school after almost two years of online learning. To address these and other challenges created by the pandemic, AVSI and partners have planned customized responses together with families and communities. As part of our global campaign, our donors helped us reach the following results.
On the morning of May 23, 2021, the day after Mount Nyiragongo volcano erupted, leaving 35 people dead and 30,000 displaced, AVSI’s social workers found Jean Luc, 11 years old, wandering through the city of Goma, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with tears in his eyes.
“I don’t know, I got lost,” mumbled Jean Luc with a blank stare when the social worker asked where his parents were. “Last night, after the sky turned red, my parents grabbed my three little sisters and me, and we started running. There were too many people in the street. I fell down and never saw my family again.”
In last year’s Annual Campaign, we invited you to “Expand your Horizons” and to join us as we reached out with hope towards communities fighting to counter the negative impact of the COVID pandemic. Over the difficult year, we have all experienced how much our destinies are tied to each other. The life of someone across the globe can impact mine, just as my life can impact theirs. It’s time to take a leap forward in how we conceive of our self and our responsibility towards one another, especially towards those suffering, on the margins of society and at risk of falling short of their fullest potential.
Human development is something that must concern us all. You are the heart of development. These are times that require bravery. AVSI-USA offers you this chance to say yes to the dramatic needs in our backyard and around the world, by supporting important projects in Mexico, Ecuador, Brazil, Haiti, Lebanon and Los Angeles.
On Monday, May 24, AVSI staff in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) began assessing the damage caused by the lava spewing from Mount Nyiragongo. On Saturday, May 22, the volcano erupted at night, bringing chaos and devastation to Goma, a city of two million people. Considered one of the world’s most active volcanoes, Nyiragongo had last erupted in 2002, killing several hundred people and leaving another approximately 100,000 homeless.
On Saturday night, the last eruption took place between 6:00 PM and 7:00 PM, generating a flow of lava that took a considerable speed. Before midnight, it had reached the first inhabited centers and then hit the north of Goma.
Thousands of displaced people fled to Rwanda (according to the Rwandan authorities, 7,000 displaced Congolese have crossed the border) and to the town of Sake (an estimated 25,000 people). Still, other families have gone as far as Minova, a town located 50 kilometers from Goma.
“Jerusalem is a militarized city, controlled by the Israeli police and military. Getting around is difficult and many people, especially the Arab community, avoid moving from the eastern part of the city to go shopping in Western Jerusalem, the Jewish area. Now, the tension is palpable, and no one, whether Jewish or Arab, crosses their area of residence,” says Valentina Clementelli, AVSI Foundation Project Manager in East Jerusalem.”