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COVID-19: A Global Response from Hong Kong

Clara Chiu, Head of Partnership Development at CEDAR Fund in Hong Kong, shares with us what they are doing to respond to COVID-19 globally, and tells us how an Integral collaboration added value to their response …

Photo: CEDAR Fund 2020. Providing health education in schools

What is CEDAR Fund doing in responding to COVID-19?
We have launched pandemic relief programmes in Hong Kong, mainland China, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Lebanon and other developing countries. We provide our beneficiaries  with medicine and pandemic prevention materials (PPE), teach them about hygiene, as well as give emotional support. We also provide food relief to underprivileged groups. In addition to these relief programmes, we collaborate closely with our Partners to add pandemic prevention measures to existing development projects. We hope that through these measures, the most vulnerable will be able to overcome their challenges during this arduous period.

Other Integral Members have contributed to your COVID-19 response. Can you tell us about more about this?
Tearfund (UK) contributed funds to our ‘Relief and Support Project for our Coronavirus’ project in China, which started in Feb 2020. The project’s aim was to reduce the risk of infection in high-risk communities, provide PPE to local Partners in Sichuan and Yunnan, and provide health education. The project also provided psychosocial support to people affected or quarantined, health and hygiene education in communities and disinfecting activities in the community.

We have also collaborated with International Health Partners in the UK to deliver medication (medicine for respiratory diseases and other chronic illnesses) to local hospitals and clinics in Lebanon. Maintaining medicine supply helps relieve pressure in the local health system that is already overloaded. We estimate that over 8,600 people (Syrian and Palestinian refugees residing in Lebanon and underprivileged local residents) will benefit from this programme.

What has been achieved to date through your response?
Christians were mobilised to serve the community – in total 110 Christian volunteers in 15 Christian organisations were actively involved in the project. Through them we have been able to distribute disinfectant, gloves, and surgical masks to three hospitals, two local government departments, 13 NGOs, seven schools and one Christian organisation – with a reach of 8000 beneficiaries.

In addition to this, hygiene education was given to 44,245 people including the most vulnerable, counselling service were provided to a community of 3500 people, assistance was given to 246 families in quarantine in six communities, 500 people received grocery through contactless delivery service, and food and daily necessities were given to the elderly who lived alone.

The service outcomes were highly appreciated by local officials, volunteers and local residents. Our local Partners demonstrated their capabilities and willingness to serve communities, became influential and built good social networks in communities and established good relationship with local officials. These are building blocks for further development and Integral Mission initiatives in the future. 

What are your future plans?
We will keep in contact with our overseas partners to make sure that the communities we are serving receive our timely support. Also, since this is our first time having a relief programme in Hong Kong, we will carefully follow up with our Church Partners, exploring any opportunities for developing a local ministry.

The pandemic is getting better in Hong Kong, but the civil unrest and social movement, on the other hand, is showing signs of reigniting. We are currently collaborating with a university on a peacebuilding project, aiming to study the conflict areas, and developing a peacebuilding programme to alleviate social hatred and division. This research project suggests that peacebuilding efforts can start with emotional care, post-traumatic self-help and spirituality.  The research will eventually develop a programme manual for the use by churches, schools and NGOs. 

How do you see the value of Integral in your context? 
Integral Alliance allows us to connect with Christian NGOs and enables us to work together to respond to different scales of disasters, especially those difficult for us to respond to alone. They also provide a very good platform to share information and ideas, which is so helpful in giving us inspiration for our programmes and fundraising planning. And lastly, we really appreciate Integral’s stress on the importance of prayer in our work, and working together with other like-minded organisations.

Please see here to see details of CEDAR Fund’s Global COVID-19 response