Sarvodaya’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Sri Lanka – Looking back over 1 year’s work
Sarvodaya had been identifying and addressing community needs in Sri Lanka for over 60 years, when the COVID-19 virus made its first appearance in Sri Lanka in March 2020. While Sri Lanka had not faced an airborne, rapidly spreading virus resulting in a physical disease like this before, Sarvodaya had had experience in handling emergency situations of assisting people survive man made disasters during the 30 years of war and natural disasters such as the Tsunami and similarly ravaging weather conditions the tiny island faces time and time again.
When the 1st case was identified and the country was imposed with a curfew overnight, Sarvodaya was one of the first to identify immediate need of distribution of emergency relief to those with no access to food rations. From there, they expanded to hygiene and care rations. In parallel, Sarvodaya worked with the relevant government agencies to offer their premises in various cities as quarantine centers and expanded it to care centers. Immediate teams were dissipated to address the need of hygiene stations and social distancing markers in public places. Gradually the awareness and education campaigns commenced islandwide which were then expanded to dispute and correct misinformation and discrimination.
A system was developed to address all branches affected due to the pandemic. As shown in the diagram below, Sarvodaya set up a 5-pronged approach to cover all bases. Apart from the pandemic itself, there were repercussions emerging from the pandemic which Sarvodaya identified and included into their action plan. Some of the key areas they identified were education, means of income, accessibility of food, mental health concerns and increase in child and domestic abuse.
Apart from the pandemic itself, there were repercussions emerging from the pandemic which Sarvodaya identified and included into their action plan. Some of the key areas they identified were education, means of income, accessibility of food, mental health concerns and increase in child and domestic abuse.
Results of 1 year of their work; from March 2020 up to March 2021 can be found in this detailed report attached below:
Their work however, is far from over. The Pandemic still prevails and now with deadly new variants such as the delta variant which appeared and spread in late April 2021. We are still requiring more funds to continue with emergency relief, and related care. We still need funds to assist communities in their endeavors in: home gardening, farming and animal husbandry for sustainable food sourcing, entrepreneurial ventures to enable income, access to technology for their children’s education, setting up helpful community centers with leaders to rely on for psychological and physical concerns, just to name a few.
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