News about the COVID-19 pandemic from March 27th, 2020

The coronavirus is hitting everyone hard, especially the poorest of our population.

ROKPA helps where help is needed - our work is particularly needed in crises such as the global outbreak of the coronavirus. In our project countries, too, we have had to adapt to the new circumstances to protect the weakest and will continue to do so. We are also clarifying with our partners what the current needs in Nepal, Zimbabwe and South Africa are and how ROKPA can provide additional support at this difficult time.

Nepal
As a precautionary measure, all schools were closed last week and public events were cancelled. Children who have their families in the remote mountain regions have been sent home - they are safer there than in the city. The remaining children stay in the Children's Home and spend time learning, drawing, reading and playing. The ROKPA Guesthouse will remain open for the time being - this is for tourists who had been traveling in the remote areas and urgently need a place to stay. The hospitality training students have been at home since last week. The Women's Workshop and training project are closed until further notice – smaller sewing jobs are done by the women at home. Nepal has been in a lockdown situation since March 24th 2020.

Africa
While the African continent has been reported to have relatively few corona infection cases compared to Europe, the situation has changed there too.

Zimbabwe
The schools have been closed. The projects will continue as well as possible, but we also had to adapt to the new situation there. We closed the day care center for disabled children because many of the children are in the high-risk group due to their ailments. The affected families will be given food packages for the next few months. The medical contact points will be reduced and continued under more stringent hygiene measures. These are particularly important in the current situation, as people from the poorest parts of the population cannot afford to visit a doctor or to buy medication. As at March 27th 2020, Zimbabwe has not entered into a lockdown situation.

South Africa
The president has declared a state of emergency. Schools, many borders and ports have been closed, some airlines are no longer allowed to fly into the country. The Tirisano creche has already been closed and our support at Mowbray Hospital (Circle of Nourishment) had to be stopped due to the reduced number and times of visits as per the hospital’s requirements which we naturally have to follow. We expect that this state of emergency will have an impact on all of our projects. We’re in close contact with our partners on-site and will keep you up to date. South Africa has been in a lockdown situation since March 26th 2020.

ROKPA headquarters in Zurich
So that we and our fellow men and women stay healthy, the ROKPA team in Zurich is now working almost exclusively from home. We take the recommendations of the Swiss Federal Council very seriously. We are still there for you - you can contact us via email (info@rokpa.org) and we look forward to hearing from you. The celebration of the 40th anniversary of ROKPA, which was planned for March 27th in Kathmandu, 2020 has been cancelled.

We will keep you up to date on how our work is developing in Nepal, Zimbabwe and South Africa. One thing is certain: Our project partners in those countries now need all the more support because crisis situations hit the weakest in society particularly hard. ROKPA is doing everything it can to be there for people affected by poverty. Help us to provide aid where it is urgently needed now. Together we can overcome this crisis.