BY LUCY COX
In Latin America many families have been hit hard by the pandemic. Viva’s partner networks are coming alongside these families to help them pursue a brighter future.
Community Centres are a new initiative which have been set up by our partner networks in Costa Rica and Mexico, offering holistic support to families throughout the pandemic and beyond.
They aim to mitigate the impacts of Covid-19, which include a decline in mental health and a rise in unemployment. The centres have been designed creatively and strategically to offer short, medium and long-term support through a variety of programmes.
The Community Centres work in five main areas:
1. Firstly, an EMERGENCY RESPONSE is needed. This covers attending to basic needs such as food, clothing, toys and school supplies.
2. Once families have the supplies they need thanks to a fast initial response, attention turns to more complex needs. The first of these is RESILIENCE– emotional, psychological and spiritual restoration. Help is delivered through a multitude of programmes, including the ‘Why Families Matter’ programme, a protection programme and tips on good parenting practices.
3. Children benefit further through the Community Centre’s approach to EDUCATION. Children receive help preparing to go back to school. Community Centres have educators available to support this process, both online and face-to-face (depending on Covid-19 restrictions).
4. Contributing to longer-term success, UNEMPLOYMENT is also addressed. Adults receive support as they prepare to return to work following unemployment due to the pandemic. There are courses to develop technical skills according to a local job market survey, including marketing techniques, sales and interview skills.
5. Making the most of RECREATION/FREE TIME is a very important part of family life. The Community Centres help with this by providing recreational activities to help families find rest and enjoyment. This could be a time of celebration, entertainment or just an opportunity to truly rest.
The Community Centres support families in all of these areas. This means families benefit from an immediate response, as well as ongoing support to help them reintegrate into their communities.
Parents of families receive financial support, as opposed to just gifts in kind, when they participate in programmes. This set-up aims to ensure families have access to basic supplies while allowing parents to feel proactive in taking care of their families.
There are currently two Community Centres running in Costa Rica and Mexico. Following their success, there are also plans to develop at least three more centres, so even more families can receive help and support.
In Costa Rica approximately 100 families are receiving psychological care and trauma management through Viva’s phone mentoring programme and about 170 children have been receiving virtual education support.
As these centres grow and evolve, more and more families will receive the support they so desperately need.
We hope every family member will come to know how valued they are and begin to look forward to a brighter future.