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End Covid for All

21 July 2020, Action for Change

We’re all in this together

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an indelible impact on the world. While we have many challenges ahead for us in Australia, we are lucky to have robust health systems in place, and economic support for those doing it tough. 

But some of our closest neighbours aren’t as fortunate. Countries like Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu will be hit hard by the pandemic, and vulnerable families driven further into poverty. 

That’s why we’ve launched a campaign to End COVID for All and we’re asking for your support to help those in need. Will you pledge your support for Australia to provide vital support to vulnerable nations?

What’s at risk?

Some of our closest neighbours are the ones most at risk from this virus. With fragile health systems, poor infrastructure and economies, many will struggle to survive. 

Steven from Wewak in PNG is a police reservist. To support his family, including his wife and three children, he supplements his income with signwriting. When COVID-19 forced a lockdown in PNG, Steven was forced to shutter his business. He lost badly-needed income and his children lost weeks of learning. 

“Everyone in the community was talking about the virus,” he says. “My children were very scared. I took my two children and we went back to the village and stayed there for two weeks because we were frightened. Their schools were closed because of the State of Emergency imposed by the government. This affected their learning. When the school opened again, only my son continued. 

My daughter was unable to continue her education because the schools were asking for school fees - I couldn’t afford the fees anymore because of the lockdown that affected my income.

Steven

A new report from Save the Children found that globally, budget cuts to education and rising poverty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic could force almost 10 million children out of school forever by the end of this year.

More support is needed

As the country began to re-open, Steven became more aware of how to protect himself from the disease. He says he’s thankful for the Australian government support, but more is needed. 

“I want other developed countries to fund organisations like Save the Children, and churches so they can continue to do more COVID-19 awareness to the people. We need these important messages to reach everyone throughout the country because we do not know if there will be a second wave of COVID-19 coming. We need to prepare in advance.

“If there is an outbreak and another State of Emergency is imposed, we need organisations to support each family in the communities with cash or food.”

 


Steven’s family has lost income through the pandemic, and his daughter is no longer attending school.
Photo: Waiyaki Philip Bongi / Save the Children

 

We can’t afford to stay safe

Steven knows how to stay safe, but he’s worried he won’t be able to afford it. “I can’t afford to buy all the PPEs to keep me safe. I can’t even buy enough supplies of masks for daily use to protect myself. This seem to be an expensive exercise. Not all Papua New Guineans can afford to live a life like that.”

It’s a story echoed throughout so many countries. 75 per cent of people in the least developed countries lack access to the primary means of preventing infection — soap and water. This is true for the almost one million Rohingya refugees living in camps in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh and others already affected by conflict.

New modelling released by the World Bank estimates that COVID-19 will push 71 million people into extreme poverty. In the worst case scenario, 100 million will be pushed to the brink, erasing the strong progress the world has made in recent years to fight poverty. 

We can do more

With your help, Australia can provide vital support for vulnerable countries and show the best of who we are. We’re asking the Australian government to respond to the crisis in our region by strengthening health systems, and supporting those, like Steven, in need. Please show your support by signing the pledge. 

Because, as this virus has shown, whatever undermines global health, peace and prosperity, impacts us all.

Stay up to date on how Save the Children is creating a world where every child has a safe and happy childhood