COVID-19 and Alalay: what if you don’t have a home at Alalay?

Yesterday’s figures (above) from the Bolivian Ministry of Health show that sadly Santa Cruz de la Sierra remains the region with by far the most confirmed COVID-19 cases in Bolivia (almost 25,000 compared with the next closest La Paz with 6,703 cases).

We remain in constant contact with Alalay and are very happy to report that all of our children and staff continue to take preventative measures against the virus and remain in good health.

However, how about those children who are not yet supported by Alalay and remain on the streets?

The Consortium for Street Children (CSC – a global network of 148+ organisations continuously fighting for the rights of street children worldwide), recently submitted a report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on the Impact of COVID-19 on Children in Street Situations, drawing on evidence gathered by CSC Network Members.

In their words:

“The COVID-19 pandemic and responses to it have brought new risks to children in street situations unlike any we have ever seen before. This population, already vulnerable before the onset of the pandemic, has largely been forgotten in emergency preparedness and response. As a result, children in street situations face devastating direct and indirect consequences of this pandemic.

Directly, these children are at increased risk of contracting the virus due to their limited ability to take preventative measures, and of developing complications if they contract the virus due to underlying health conditions and compromised immune systems.

Indirectly, with support services being shut down in many countries and children being persecuted and criminalised or otherwise punished for not having a home in which to isolate themselves, they are put at increased risk of harm by the very measures governments have put in place to keep people safe. Pushed to the margins and with no means at all to make any money to provide for themselves as the rest of the community stays at home, children in street situations are at increased risk of hunger and exploitation by adults.”

Read the insightful complete CSC submission and recommendations HERE.

Alalay, UNICEF Bolivia and other organisations continue to develop and distribute child-friendly materials and resources for families and young people to educate themselves about COVID-19 and preventative measures. However, there is so much more still to do, to ensure everyone remains safe – on the streets and beyond.

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