Quick CSOs’ response to the most vulnerable communities affected by COVID-19

5 Aug 2020

The Civil Society Resource Centre was among the first to provide an organised response to the pandemic crisis. Through emergency intervention grants, it supported seven CSOs that in the past period worked to reduce the consequences of COVID-19. They have helped more than 1,000 socially disadvantaged families, members of marginalized groups, farmers and victims of domestic violence.

Most of them provided humanitarian assistance to vulnerable categories of citizens in order to easily overcome the crisis period. The Association for Perspective Integration and Development “Roma Perspective” from Prilep worked on reducing hunger and hygiene needs of socially disadvantaged families. For that purpose, they gave 110 packages of food and hygiene supplies in the Prilep Roma settlement “Trizla 2”. In addition, they organised online meetings with the Roma community to provide psychological support, as well as to inform about economic measures by the Government, employment measures, how to enrol their children in kindergarten, primary and secondary schools.

“We successfully implemented meetings with 20 women who needed psychological support. The problems arose after the beginning of the crisis because people of all generations live in one room. Many women with their children follow online classes with just one smart device. This means that other children must miss the online classes that are held at the same time. “Some of the women pointed out that they are overburdened with household chores, because the whole family is at home and they need to work more, cook and clean,” Roma Perspective said.

The situation is similar in the Kumanovo settlement “Tode Mendol”, where the Humanitarian Charitable Association “Holy Mother Teresa” works. Inspecting the situation, they concluded that the population there has the biggest problem with the hygienic conditions and educational materials. Bekim Saliu, president of the association, speaks about their beneficiaries, about a family with seven children who do not have the money to buy a simple pencil for their four school children, as well as about single mothers with small children who do not have the money to buy diapers and other basic hygiene products.

Through their action supported by the Civil Society Resource Centre, they distributed 30 educational and fun packages such as board, logic games and puzzles; 40 packages with school supplies; as well as 30 humanitarian packages with basic hygiene products. Saliu says they opted for such assistance because they noticed that socially disadvantaged families were well supplied with food thanks to the help of other CSOs.

The Roma population in Gostivar was also under enormous pressure during the crisis. In addition to distributing 80 humanitarian packages, the association “Mesechina” also distributed brochures for proper information about the severity of the spread of the pandemic, as well as the importance of personal and collective protection. The association points out that the proper distribution of the packages helped to reduce the fear and panic related to the basic existence.

This CSOs’ reaction contributed temporarily and in a solidarity way to help those who face the new situation with most difficulties. In addition to humanitarian activities, the organisations provided psychosocial support to victims of domestic violence and shared useful information in the communities.

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