[Original by Maki KATO, Afghanistan Project (April 2, 2020); Translated by J. Tsuchiya/A. Taguchi]
On the 1st of April, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that Afghanistan has seen 196 cases of COVID-19 and 5 deaths nationwide. It is urgent to prevent the spread of the infection. Especially in rural areas far from big cities, people bear more psychological burdens because they have less access to information. Many people are very anxious that they might be infected. Afghanistan faces a high risk from a pandemic, especially because the long-standing conflicts have prevented the country from organizing public health and sanitation. It also has a border with Iran which is reported to have more than 20,000 infected people and more than 1,500 deaths.
In these circumstances, we have heard strong demands from our local partner, “Your Voice Organization (YVO)”. They said, “We want to do something because we have knowledge and experiences!” We started planning to support the prevention of COVID-19 in cooperation with them since last week.
Since it is not possible to gather people in one place and share information about COVID-19 in big groups, we decided to conduct home visits instead, share information, and give advice on the prevention measures. Some teachers and students of the Literacy Education Program will also help us as volunteers. In addition, they will display their hand-made posters with the information and illustrations made by the Ministry of Health in the mosques of every village and engage in enlightenment activities on infection prevention. Their goal is to reach about 2,500 households.
It means that they can actively participate in the prevention campaign by making use of their newly acquired skills from the Literacy Education Program. Also, about 300 students participating in the activities will get sanitary kits containing essential items such as soap.
Until today, we were busy adjusting the budget with YVO, examining and obtaining delivery materials, and preparing handouts. But now, we can start the activities in our project villages. We will share our on-site report with you!
Mr. Sabirullah, the director of our partner organization YVO, is always lighthearted and smiling whenever I skype him. I assume he must be tired and under big pressure, securing the safety of his staff members while implementing emergency support for the local people. But he conveyed his intentions to me saying, “It’s a difficult time, so I try to make myself happy. I must create a good atmosphere for my team!” His spiritual strength always encourages me.
The spread of COVID-19 is going to worsen the plight of those who are living in a harsh environment. COVID-19 is currently running riot all over the world, and we are also exposed to the risk of infection here in Japan. Such a dismal atmosphere makes us gloomy. But instead of being depressed, I would like to continue the aid activities in a resolute and cheerful attitude, so that I can also encourage the people around me.Share This: