“We need to work.” This is the number one thing we at Friendship Bridge are hearing right now from the women we serve in Guatemala. “My immediate need is to return to my business in order to generate income and buy food for my family. We need income to survive.”
But what happens when you can’t go to work? What happens if you already live in or near poverty? With no government safety net, little or no savings, and now no income, what happens when you can’t feed your children?
As we in affluent countries face our own worries and needs during this pandemic, we must also acknowledge that uncertainty and poverty are realities that our clients face their whole lives in Guatemala. The effects of COVID-19 have only exacerbated their burdens and made them more vulnerable than ever.
Through our regular communication with Friendship Bridge clients, we now estimate that 55% of them are in need of immediate food assistance. In fact, some families in Guatemala have even started hanging white flags outside their homes to signal that they urgently need food. Without work or income, many of our clients are desperate and some are going hungry.
That’s why Friendship Bridge is launching an Emergency Food Relief Program to immediately provide essentials to our most vulnerable clients in rural Guatemala during COVID-19. We have formed a task force to develop strategic partnerships with suppliers, NGOs, foundations, and even our own in-country staff to feed as many women and families as we can each month with your help.