How are we responding to the coronavirus pandemic?

Our educational institutions are closed, but other projects are continuing – as are the costs. And we’re preparing for a potential crisis in Afghanistan.

01. April 2020

Lessons can be taught at the children’s centre at the moment. But the teachers still need to be paid.

Lessons can be taught at the children’s centre at the moment. But the teachers still need to be paid.

The coronavirus is affecting Afghanistan and Kurdistan, just like so many other countries. How are we responding?

Our elementary school in Kabul is closed, as is the children’s centre at the Baadre refugee camp in Kurdistan. The dental clinic in Herat, Afghanistan is only treating patients who are in pain; the dentists’ training project has been suspended. These measures are initially for one month. But just like all over the world, no one there really knows how things will continue.

Projects that don’t necessarily require close contact between people are continuing, such as setting up drinking water wells or delivering food and firewood to the orphanage.

Does this mean we have lower costs?

Unfortunately not: We still need to keep paying all our local staff - like the teachers, for example, even though they’re not teaching. All our other fixed costs remain unchanged too.

Many people in Afghanistan are responding in much the same way as a lot of people in the West: they’re buying more to build up a stock of supplies. That’s caused food prices to rise sharply. Because of that, we paid the wages for our Afghan staff in Herat two weeks early. Our other offices will also respond by making an extra payment in addition to the normal wages.

Incidentally, nearly all our international team members are staying in the countries where they work, at their own request – despite the very real threat of a major outbreak of the virus with inadequate healthcare services.

And in addition to the inadequate healthcare, there may also be massive food shortages coupled with further increases in food prices, leading to a crisis that’s likely to hit poorer families especially hard. So we’re appealing to you as our supporters not to reduce your donations, as far as possible. Please pray too for Afghanistan and Kurdistan, for our staff and our work. We are praying for you too.

With our sincere thanks for your faithfulness

Udo Stolte and the Shelter Team