After our most recent COVID-19 update and sharing of the Consortium for Street Children’s report on the Impact of COVID-19 on Children in Street Situations (read more HERE), we spoke to Alalay staff to find out how they are managing “street work” during the pandemic, to protect themselves and those still on the streets. In pre-COVID times, this vital stage in the Alalay journey involves street workers spending time on the streets interacting with the children and young people living/working working there. They talk and maybe play with them or share some food, building up trust and a relationship with the children, and encouraging them to visit Alalay (only if this is desired by the child themselves).
During the pandemic all normal street work has been temporarily suspended by the state. Instead, members of Alalay’s street work team have been supporting online training of the police, while discussing how and when normal activities can resume (with appropriate PPE). [Alalay had already been working with the police for some time pre-COVID to ensure all police officers know how to treat those living on the street and where appropriate support can be accessed]. The government has also opened a temporary centre where people living on the streets can get medical attention, food and somewhere to sleep [this centre normally only functions during the Winter months, during which time it receives weekly support from the Alalay street worker].
In normal times, children living at Alalay are encouraged to maintain contact with their biological family (with supervision, and where it is safe to do so) and Alalay organizes family visits and events. However, this has now moved to video calls only – outside visits have been temporarily suspended so as to protect everyone.
If any new child is brought into Alalay during this time, they have a COVID-19 test and the child is kept safely isolated for a period of time to ensure they show no symptoms before joining the Alalay family. All of our children continue to participate in online training and receive educational support from Alalay staff to ensure they do not fall behind in their studies. Most importantly, everyone remains well at Alalay in Santa Cruz, although sadly cases in the region continue to grow – as of 28 July, the region had registered 33,084 confirmed cases, and 33 x COVID-19 deaths were confirmed yesterday alone (see the latest countrywide and regional figures HERE).
Find out more about Alalay’s normal street work methodology, protection and prevention programmes HERE.