An update on the impact of COVID-19 at CAPTIVATING

Dear Supporters and Followers,

I hope this update finds you safe and well as we all go through these challenging times.

I wanted to give you an update about the impact COVID-19 is having on the work of Captivating in China, Nepal, and the Philippines.

KEY MESSAGE – for all the challenges currently gripping the world, we see light at the end of this COVID-19 tunnel. We remain positive and hopeful. 

CHINA is the light we are currently seeing. China, where this virus first started in December, is a window on what the next few months holds for many of us (if we can be as disciplined with our social distancing practices). Captivating’s main support office is based in Shenzhen (Southern China, just across from Hong Kong) and most of our project work takes place in Qinghai Province (Western China). Both locations were in lock-down for 10 weeks, however, everything is progressively and rapidly opening up in Shenzhen and across China in general.

Restaurants, parks, even stadiums are also now opening, with an announcement about schools possibly reopening expected in the coming days. In Qinghai, schools started to reopen from the beginning of March with the expectation all schools and vocational colleges will be operating by the end of the month.

All of this is great news for our work in China, which is now into full operation mode for our project teams there. Everyone is excited about this and energized to reach our goal of significantly improving the lives of 1,000 single moms, young women and children before the year is out.

 

NEPAL is a different story. Yesterday it went into a nation-wide lockdown following India’s lead. CoronaVirus cases are expected to rise significantly as millions of Nepali’s migrate from India back into Nepal. Our anti-human trafficking work with our partners has remained unchanged up until this point, and our border monitoring stations have been scenes of complete chaos in recent weeks with increased numbers flowing through already busy border crossings.

As of today, we are now in a holding pattern with these border crossings now in full lockdown. Sadly, everyone is bracing for spikes in human trafficking activity once the lockdown ends and people’s desperation for a better life rises to an all-time high. The Nepal based teams, however, are safe and well and ready for what comes next. These next few weeks of lockdown will give them an important “reset” for what lies ahead. We are clear that what remains of 2020 will be an absolutely brutal time for the poor in Nepal so there are a lot of challenges in front of us. More than ever, Nepal will need our prayers and support.

 

PHILIPPINES main island of Luzon (where most of our work takes place and our Manilla based team is located) is already in total lockdown. Aftercare support for victims of human trafficking, school education on cyber-sex crime and internet safety, as well as support to over 100 microfinance women groups continues remotely (via phone and internet communications).

Again, in these times where everyone becomes even more desperate and concerned, the risks increase significantly for those already the poorest of the poor.

 

Captivating programs provide full funding for over 100 amazing staff across all these countries. Most have been working together now for several years – showing unceasing dedication, high levels of expertise, and most importantly, a true heart for those they have dedicated themselves to support. In truth, we are all frustrated we cannot do our jobs to the level we need to due to COVID-19. We support the restrictions and take them seriously – especially social distancing, hygiene, and isolation. But all of us are bracing ourselves for what lies and, in our industry, the fallout and impact for the poor we serve will be brutal. But we have no choice but remain POSITIVE and HOPEFUL.

Our “hopefulness” obviously also extends to you, our support base. We know no-one is immune to the impact of COVID-19. Diving stock markets, people losing jobs, uncertainty. This is all generally bad news for the charity sector. Our prayer is that you can stay the course with your support of our work through this difficult time. We are certainly hopeful for that.

In the meantime, we remain confident that COVID-19 will be defeated if we all do our part. China’s progress has given us reason to be positive. This too shall pass. We will all be a bit different at the end. Maybe a bit more serious about how fragile life can be. Maybe more conscious of what millions of people who live in poverty experience everyday. So, let’s change that.

Thanks for getting to this point in a message. If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, please feel free to contact me directly. And, thanks for being part of this journey together.

Andrew Colquhoun | Co-founder & CEO, Captivating

andrewc@captivating.org

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