War Child switches to coronavirus awareness raising

March 13, 2020

Meisjes op school in Afghanistan
War Child is suspending group activities with children in light of the coronavirus pandemic. This decision has been taken to protect the health of the children and families who take part in our programmes.

Counselling for individual children is continuing. Wherever possible, War Child will work to raise awareness with regard to both the virus and preventive measures to mitigate its effects.

Ongoing country assessments

War Child will review whether any exceptions to this suspension can be made on a country-by-country basis. These assessments will adhere to World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines and be taken in close cooperation with national health authorities and other organisations.

In African countries where we are active, measures have been in place for some time to contribute towards prevention and the mental health consequences of epidemics in response to the Ebola virus. These measures will allow more of our support to continue.

Heavy heart

“We are taking this decision with a heavy heart,” said War Child managing director Tjipke Bergsma. “But under these circumstances group activities can do more harm than good. We support vulnerable children in countries affected by armed conflict, where health care is often minimal or absent. Preventing the children and their families and communities as far as possible from getting sick is essential.”

War Child will also work to protect the more than 250 members of staff with work with children to ensure the continuity of our support to children and their families in the future.

Raising coronavirus awareness

In Lebanon War Child is conducting awareness-raising sessions for children, caregivers, facilitators, teachers and local organisations in small groups.

In Sri Lanka, where schools have been closed, War Child is providing day care for small groups of children.

Donors and friends

War Child offices will remain closed until further notice and staff have been asked to work from home. All but the most essential travel has been halted. Public fundraising activities are suspended.

“Our thoughts are also with our volunteers, donors and friends, who have been supporting children in war for many years and some of whom may be affected by the pandemic,” said Bergsma.

“You are part of the War Child family."
Tjipke Bergsma - War Child managing director Tjipke Bergsma

War Child is active in 14 countries around the world, reaching over 200,000 children and adults living with the effects of violence and armed conflict.