HEKS/EPER launches new COVID-19 solidarity campaign: «Sticking together while keeping a distance»
The COVID-19 pandemic clearly reveals the often precarious living conditions of millions of people around the world. From the very start of 2020, Swiss Church Aid (HEKS/EPER) therefore adapted many of its projects in Switzerland and abroad to suit the specific needs of this crisis. Through its nation-wide campaign «Sticking together while keeping a distance», HEKS/EPER is yet again calling on the Swiss population to show solidarity towards those people who have been hit particularly hard by the consequences of the virus.
From Bangladesh to Venezuela...
With HEKS/EPER support, it has so far been possible to avert a rapid spread of the disease and hence a humanitarian tragedy in the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh, for example. HEKS/EPER is cooperating with the World Health Organization (WHO) to provide hygiene training courses for medical auxiliaries, to supply first aid centres with soap and drinking water and to improve waste disposal. In addition, tarpaulins, blankets and protective masks are distributed to people living in the refugee camps. In Venezuela HEKS/EPER works with a local partner organization to ensure that Latin America's largest university hospital in Caracas is regularly disinfected. In Ethiopia too, HEKS/EPER is ensuring safe and sustainable access to clean drinking water and improved sanitary facilities for many communities, schools and health facilities.
...from Geneva to St. Gallen
In Switzerland HEKS/EPER is turning to inventiveness, telephones, digital channels and social networks to make up for the lack of places and opportunities for meeting and social exchange, to break through the social isolation of the disadvantaged members of society, as well as to inform and support migrants, refugees and sans papiers in a crisis that threatens their very existence. For example, as part of the "AltuM" (Age and Migration) programme in the Cantons of Aargau, Solothurn and Zurich, as well as its French-language companion programme "Age et Migration" in the Cantons of Vaud and Geneva, HEKS/EPER ensures that older migrants, including many people at risk, receive important information about labour law, social assistance and official COVID-19 measures via "WhatsApp" or "Viber" groups. Furthermore, informative videos on issues relating to health and ageing are being prepared. Besides, there are regularly organised, virtual multilingual meetings over coffee. In the Canton of Vaud, a HEKS/EPER hotline for psychosocial support is having a very good uptake. An online radio station is also being set up to provide Corona-specific information.