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Updates from the Frontlines in Ukraine

It is freezing in Ukraine. Thousands have been sleeping in subway stations and makeshift bunkers to protect themselves from bombs. For over a million people, the time has come to flee. Across the eastern part of the country, women, children and the elderly daily board any bus or train they can find heading west and south, either to cities like Lviv (Leopoli) near the Polish border, or continuing further into Poland, Romania, and Moldova. How long will they be gone?

Witness from Ukraine

Living in an orphanage in Ukraine is usually a traumatizing experience, even in peaceful times. Estimates put the number of youth in orphan care in the country at about 90,000. The majority are social orphans, meaning they have been placed in institutions because their parents could not care for them on account of extreme poverty, abuse, or abandonment. Around age 16, orphans must leave the boarding schools or other care institutions because state funding runs out. Yet, having spent their whole lives without parental love and care, most are woefully unprepared for independent adult living.

Crisis in Manaus: Agricultural School surviving in midst of alarming COVID-19 case numbers and oxygen shortage

The COVID-19 pandemic is hitting Manaus again. With a record number of hospitalizations, deaths, and burials in January, the second wave of the new coronavirus is much worse than the first. This is likely due to a combination of factors: First, a new, more contagious strain of the virus. Second, because the population decided not to follow safety protocols in place during the first wave.

On the same boat: an update from Queen of the Apostles School in Manaus

Until a few days ago, it seemed like the coronavirus had not yet affected Manaus. Only days ago, the beaches of Rio de Janeiro were crowded. A million supporters rallied for President Jair Bolsonaro, who shook hands with a myriad of people. On March 13th, the first two cases were reported in Manaus and the State mandated school that all schools be closed immediately.

Here, at the Queen of the Apostles School (Rainha dos Apostolos), we consulted with the students as well as some of their families. Together, we decided that dismissing all 110 students would pose a higher risk of exposure than allowing them to stay. The several days of travel required for many students to return home would create many more opportunities for exposure than staying here on campus where we can ensure that necessary precautions are taken, including social distancing, and thorough cleaning. At this time, we are waiting for the state authorities to share their decision about our proposal.