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NZ Charity Calls For Urgent Assistance To Support Impoverished Nations Struggling Under COVID-19

Just Peoples, a small Kiwi charity, is working around the clock to ensure hard hit communities in Kenya, Bangladesh, and Uganda survive COVID-19.

The charity, set up by childhood friends from Christchurch, Johanna de Burca and Christey West, works with locals in developing countries on a range of grassroots projects encompassing education, economic empowerment, period poverty, mental health, and water and sanitation. Just Peoples are currently focussing all their resources to deliver what’s most needed in their communities as the pandemic unfolds.

“Communities where many people live hand to mouth in densely-packed conditions while already grappling with fragile health systems and lack of government support, are now facing urgent new challenges” said Johanna.

Impact on Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, a country of 160 million people, Just Peoples Project Leader and engineer Mushfiqur Rahman Saad has just delivered 900 3D face shields that his team made for doctors in the capital Dhaka and outside. The personal protective equipment (PPE) was made with three 3D printers purchased through donations to Just Peoples. Mushfiqur and his team are now working through the night to 3D print and test emergency ventilators for medics who desperately need them.

“Hundreds of doctors here are now infected with Covid-19 and in early April we had only 45 ventilators across five Dhaka hospitals, so the doctors are extremely thankful to us,” said Mushfiqur. “However to help more working on the frontline try to save lives we need to buy more printers and filament.”

Impact on Africa

Kenyan Project Leader and physiotherapist Elizabeth Nyokobi, is now delivering hand-washing stations to areas without running water, organising community talks on social distancing and distributing gloves and soap to remote Maasai communities.

While much of Elizabeth’s work to combat Covid-19 has focussed on prevention, the overwhelming and urgent need is for food. She has also begun distributing high nutrition porridge to communities in lockdown.

“A lockdown in Africa is very hard to implement unlike the West where there are measures and systems put in place for people who can’t work,” Elizabeth said.

“We’re doing our best to ensure that everyone, including the women and the children who are now facing starvation stay healthy. But we need more funds.”

Co-Founder of Just Peoples, Christey West said, "We've been blown away by the generosity of Kiwis who, despite facing uncertain times themselves, have reached into their pockets to support these initiatives and help some of the world’s most vulnerable."

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