Across the 83 countries in which we operate, there has been an increase in action from Mothers’ Union to assist the response to COVID-19. Members are pushing their communities to network in new and unique ways which reduce in-person meeting as much as possible but still deliver essential aid to those who need it most.
Often this is in the form of making and delivering protective equipment and sometimes it is in the packaging and supplying of food or support packs. In the past this kind of action may have been considered a welcome and kind gesture - now they can be live-saving acts.
As national economies bear the brunt of the economic difficulties brought about by the virus, it is those in lowest income groups who are paying the highest price. These are the communities which Mothers’ Union members seek to assist. Alongside the practical assistance, members continue to support and nurture faith, often encouraging each other with uplifting messages of praise and worship.
In Toungoo and in Hpa-an diocese in Myanmar, numerous hand sanitisers, bottles of hand soap and face masks have been made and distributed to people in the community. These are essential to the efforts to slow the spread of the virus in a context where a lack of infrastructure can make logistics very tricky.
Respecting social distancing guidelines, about fifteen members (including Diocesan Presidents and Community Development Coordinators) have been involved in these local level efforts. This may sound like a small number but working long shifts they are able to deliver vast amounts of cleansing and protective items to where they are needed most.
In the Americas
In normal times, Mothers’ Union has a meals on wheels service to assist those in need in the West Indies. However, at the moment that has stopped due to safety concerns.
Adapting to the situation, members are packaging food and every member is helping one family each who have been identified as vulnerable. They are also encouraging each other in prayer and fellowship over SMS services such as WhatsApp, using videos and audio. The multimedia nature of this sharing of God’s message gives hope and provides inspiration.
In Uganda, members are supporting those who are living hand-to-mouth by distributing food and care packages. They are also sharing important information and advice about protecting against the virus. This is done via social media, with a particular emphasis on dispelling myths and fighting any social stigma that may be on the increase.
Mothers’ Union in South Africa is also educating people through social media channels (including WhatsApp) with information about handwashing, how COVID-19 is spread and how to protect yourself. The dispersal of these positive and helpful messages is vital at this time as many people live in close proximity to their neighbours and community. Therefore, practicing effective social distancing is difficult.
A Snapshot of Action
As can be seen from this snapshot of international action, Mothers’ Union continues to adapt and change to the ever-evolving threat posed by COVID-19 to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable.
We will continue to work hard to support these branches in their various localities around the globe as they serve those most in need. To enable us to do this post 2020 we need to ensure our finances are secure. If you are able to give at this time, please consider our appeal.