Hands on Peru’s COVID19 RESPONSE:
“SEAMOS UNO – WE ARE ONE”
A critical situation
Peru has been on military lockdown since March 16, 2020. Families are unable to work, let alone to leave their houses unless it is for food or medicine. Communities all throughout Peru have been devastated by these nationwide restrictions. Low income communities, like Villa Los Angeles, and Venezuelans have suffered the most from hunger and homelessness as a result of being unable to work and provide for their families.
Communities without adequate water, sanitation, and hygiene are suffering disproportionately. Not only are they susceptible to corona virus, but also to other viruses and bacteria that threaten their health. Now it is more important than ever to promote public health in order to prevent the spread of disease.
In Peru, cases are rising every day. As of May 8, 2020 there are 58,000 confirmed cases, mostly in the Lima region. There are over 1200 cases in the region of La Libertad, where HOP works.
Hands on Peru has seen the desperation, and developed a comprehensive public health intervention to meet the needs of our community Villa Los Angeles, and surrounding communities.
Our Relief Plan – Short term
Provision of hygiene packs to families which include hand soap, bleach, alcohol, and re-usable, washable masks. Each pack costs $15.
Making Masks, Supporting Mothers
The masks are confectioned by the women of “Chimuk Chic” our brand of hand knit items. Each mother will earn $1 per mask made, as a way to earn some economic income. To continue supporting the mothers during this time of economic standstill, please purchase one of their items here. All items available in USA.
Many families do not have enough savings to get them through this time. We will provide financial assistance for families who do not have money for: rent, food, essential medicine.
Our Relief Plan – Long term
As a public health organization, we are committed to the health of our community, and surrounding communities.
Our primary care physician will visit our public health center 2 times a week, to be able to treat the needs of our community.
CESAPU is a bustling community center, where social distancing is nearly impossible. Our community programs are temporarily suspended, and may not start up again until 2021. Handwashing at the door has always been encouraged, and will now be mandatory.
Community Hygiene – Trash pickup
We will continue to fight with our community to insist that the municipality picks up trash more regularly. The trash comes only once per week. Additionally, our community is located alongside the cultural ruins of Chan Chan, which serves as an illegal dump. As a result, our community is living in a very un-hygienic environment. Consistent collaborative pressure on the government, by both the community and our nonprofit, can change this situation.
Public Health Outreach
Depending on funding, we will conduct community outreach throughout Huanchaco, which will be focused on hygiene, disease prevention, water, nutrition, and primary care. These outreach opportunities will take a variety of forms, from door-to-door education to collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the local government.
We have Sawyer water filters to distribute to families with no clean water, and we are collaborating with an Arizona based nonprofit called 33 Buckets in order to ensure the municipality water supply is connected and chlorinated (2021 and beyond).
We are accepting donations for further disaster relief through our PayPal account firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
We have cancelled our volunteer summer sessions, and postponed our Fall 2020 fundraiser until the Spring 2021. Our nonprofit is in desperate need of your support, now more than ever! Please consider donating, knowing that it is having a huge impact on public health in Peru.
UPDATE #1 (26 May 2020)
“One of the cheapest, easiest, and most important ways to prevent the spread of the coronavirus is frequent handwashing with soap and water. But for many children and families, basic water and hygiene facilities remain out of reach.” – UNICEF
Throughout May, we have distributed 100 hygiene packs to our community Villa Los Angeles, helping over 1,000 people to prevent illness and contagion of the virus. We collaborated with the NGO’s Otra Cosa Network and Global GLOW Network to distribute educational-wellbeing books for kids with crayons in order to promote mental health. Masks were made by mothers at Chimuk Chic, who earned 1USD per mask made, generating income for women during this time of economic hardship. Peru has one of the longest quarantines, worldwide and has just extended it until June 30th, 2020, paralyzing millions of people and forcing millions out of their homes. Thank you to everyone who has supported us and who has made a donation! Each pack costs roughly $15 to make and we are still accepting donations that can be matched via the Johnson & Johnson Caring Crowd platform. Our next goal is provide 200 hygiene packs to a neighboring community. Together we can build resilient communities and survive this pandemic with dignity and respect for all.
UPDATE #2 (30 June 2020)
In the last days of June, Hands on Peru donated 200 hygiene packs to 50 “ollas communes” or communal kitchens, benefitting an estimated 2,075 people.
What is an “olla comun” or communal kitchen?
An olla comun is a community-led, solidarity-driven communal kitchen. In times of crisis, the poorest communities band together to address one issue in particular: Hunger. All across Peru, tens of thousands of communities have formed their own ollas comunes in their “barrios” or neighborhoods, as a way to survive and feed hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people. Most ollas comunes are located in extremely isolated, peri-urban communities that experience abject and heartbreaking poverty.
Each olla comun serves an average of two main meals a day to however many people are in their community. They band together to share resources. Often, these make-shift communal kitchens are created outdoors on abandoned lots or shared land, and do not comply with hygienic standards for the preparation & serving of food. Hygiene comes secondary to hunger, in a crisis like this where 70% of Peruvians are informally employed. This high level of informal employment is what led to complete desolation of finances for millions of Peruvians during the extended quarantine, which ended June 30, 2020.
COVID-19 has been shown to spread within large crowds of people. Therefore, ollas comunes could potentially propagate the virus. In order to combat the risk of the spread of infection, it is crucial to ensure their access to water and hygiene.
HOP has allied with community leaders to identify and serve 50 ollas comunes, providing them with essential hygiene materials. With 200 hygiene packs, we have benefited an estimated total of 2075 people. These ollas comunes now have hand soap, alcohol, liquid soap, extra hand-made masks, and their children have educational-wellness booklets and crayons. Each pack cost $14, and with the additional travel and coordination expenses the total cost came to $3,000.
UPDATE #3 – 22 JULY 2020
On July 22, 2020 HOP performed their third disaster relief repartition. In early July we were contacted by Fiorella Fernandez, president of the Association of Venezuelans in Trujillo, where we learned about 140 Venezuelan families in dire need of food and hygiene. We made hygiene packs of soap, alcohol and bleach, educational and wellbeing resources, in addition to food packs of beans, lentils, rice and oil, and milk for families with young children. This effort benefitted an estimated total of 770 people. Each pack cost roughly $12. Less than 2% of the budget was spent on administrative costs. See below for a video
and some photos of the successful event.
Millions of Venezuelans have fled their country in the past few years to search for better lives and opportunities for themselves and their families. Many of these refugees have re-located to Peru where they have been able to settle. Once more, they are faced with economic tragedy, and once more they are struggling to survive. We stand in solidarity with our Venezuelan brothers and sisters and hope to be able to continue to support them during the COVID19 pandemic and economic and social crisis it hascaused.
On behalf of our dedicated staff at HOP and the almost 5,000 beneficiaries we’ve served up until now,
THANK YOU! For your generosity.
Throughout the month of August, our Center for Public Health is open twice per week to re-fill hand soap containers in our community, following the correct social-distancing and personal protection standards. We continue to fight COVID19 and other communicable diseases, and are dedicated to supporting our community of Villa Los Angeles so they have the resources they need to stay healthy.
UPDATE #5: 29 SEPTEMBER 2020
On September 29, 2020 we visited 30 communal kitchens in Alto Trujillo, arguably the poorest zone in the whole district of Trujillo. We donated 120 hygiene packs, benefitting up to 3,330 people and 321 families. The packs contained: 2 handmade masks made by the women at “Chimuk chic”, 1.5 liters of hand soap, 1 liter of alcohol spray, menstrual pads, and corona virus educational materials. These communal kitchens were the same ones we visited back in July. Without necessary hygiene materials individuals are much more exposed to communicable diseases, including but not limited to covid19.
For this delivery, we partnered with the new organization KHUYANA to distribute menstrual pads. We delivered over 1,000 pads, which the women were extremely grateful for.
Economic stimulation: The mothers at Chimuk chic earned money for the masks that they made for this round of hygiene packs. We plan to advance with chimuk chic fashion and new collections for Winter 2020.
The cooks in the communal kitchens struggle daily to collect money and find food for the families that they feed. We want to continue to make sure they have the necessary things they need in order to survive and live in a dignified fashion. We plan to keep supporting these forgotten communities.