We hear very little about the effects of the Coronavirus outside Europe, the USA and of course China. There are many, many stories of hardship and loss in the UK but the potential effect of the virus in the large urban areas of developing countries hardly bears thinking about.
Most of those worst affected so far don’t actually have the virus. The strict lockdowns however are affecting the poorest and most vulnerable to the extent that many are starving. In large cities in countries like India and Kenya, millions of people live a day-to-day existence – their income in the day pays for their family’s meal in the evening. With lockdown, they can’t earn a living and with no social security system to fall back on, they are desperate.
Through a Just Giving page on its website – www.sharedearth-trade.co.uk – Shared Earth is supporting one of its suppliers, Asha Handicrafts, which is currently feeding about 200 people a day in Mumbai’s slum areas. Shared Earth founder, Jeremy Piercy, says: “We want that to be a lot more. Money goes much further in India than in the UK. A donation of just £5 (the price of a pint of beer, in happier times) – provides food for one person for a whole month: rice, lentils, cooking oil, flour and other basics. Shared Earth has donated £2,400 and has so far raised another £2,000 in further donations.
“In Nairobi, Kenya, the lockdown is strict and in areas like Kibera, one of the largest slums in the world, the same thing is happening – those at the bottom of society are no longer able to make a living. Because people live so close together – often 8 or more people in a one-room shack – and because health facilities are so limited, it would be a disaster if the virus were to take hold. Shared Earth is working with its suppliers Zuri and Undugu to provide community hand-sanitisers and face masks in the slums, to prevent the virus spreading. A large hand-sanitiser (see image) costs only £20, and £4 a day to run, allowing hundreds of people to keep clean and spreading awareness too about the need to do so. The Just Giving page on Shared Earth’s website has so far raised £1,300 and with everyone’s help we want to raise far more. 250,000 people live in Kibera and the need is urgent.
“We appeal to all readers to make a donation, however small”.