On behalf of all of us here at Central Asia Institute, I hope this email finds you and your loved ones healthy and well.
Needless to say, this is an incredibly scary and confusing time for all of us. Like many of you, however, we here at Central Asia Institute are taking measures to care for ourselves, our loved ones, our colleagues, and neighbors. We’re also starting to look more closely at how we can best help the children and communities in Central Asia who are also being affected by the virus. In the coming days and weeks, we’ll be developing a comprehensive strategy to address COVID-19’s widespread implications on our overseas programs. In the meantime, we’re reaching out to you – our dedicated friends and supporters – to share information as we face this global challenge.
How is COVID-19 affecting the countries, communities, and individuals that Central Asia Institute serves?
As is the case all over the world, the countries in which we work (Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan) either have confirmed cases of COVID-19 (the Coronavirus) or are at high risk. Thankfully, the number of confirmed cases is relatively low; however, the risk the disease presents to the health and welfare of the communities and individuals we serve is significant. This is due both to these countries’ lack of accessible, well-funded healthcare systems and the underlying vulnerability of their people. This is even more so the case for the impoverished, remote communities within these countries where CAI works.
The good news is that in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, where there are reported Coronavirus cases, the government is taking precautions to prevent the spread of the disease and protect vulnerable populations, including children. Schools have been closed until at least mid-April and borders with some neighboring countries have been closed. CAI is working directly with its overseas partners to identify solutions to help fill these gaps in education, as well as the impact of these decisions at a local level.
At a time when countries and individuals alike are being forced to close their doors, we’re striving to reach out across the globe to help those most in need to respond to the pandemic. By emphasizing the human spirit that connects us all – our common love for our families and compassion for those who are most vulnerable – we know that we can weather the current crisis.
What is CAI doing to help?
First, we’re doing what we can to share information and keep abreast of the rapidly evolving situation on the ground, both in the United States and in the countries where we work. This includes doing what we can to educate and share information with our international partners on best practices to avoid transmission and encouraging them to educate communities who may lack accurate information on the virus, how it spreads, and how to protect themselves.
We’re also educating ourselves on the unique risks the virus presents to the communities and populations we support. Most have no access to the internet and may not be getting accurate information; as mentioned above, the healthcare systems in these areas are extremely weak; children who cannot go to school may be facing additional risks at home, both physically and mentally.
Disruptions to daily life may continue for weeks or possibly even months. Consequently, Central Asia Institute will be adapting our programs to continue supporting remote communities. We will be looking at both immediate response programs, as well as long-term solutions like virtual learning or expedited learning programs if children are out of school for long periods of time. We’ll be sure to keep all of you informed as we develop and implement a comprehensive response.
Send a message of solidarity and hope to share with our partners and beneficiaries overseas.
If you would like to share a message of solidarity and hope with our friends in Central Asia, we would be happy to forward it along. Simply reply to this message. After all, we might need to physically distance ourselves, but social connection is more important than ever.
As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us should you have any questions or concerns, or if you simply wish to connect. We are always here for you.
Thank you again for your dedicated support for our programs, for your love of education, and for your compassion and caring.
P.S. In the coming weeks, we will do our best to share stories of hope to brighten your day. Even in times like these we have so much to celebrate. Keep an eye out for these updates.