Sew Powerful COVID-19 Relief Efforts
Since March we've been working hard to educate the population of Ngombe Compound in Lusaka Zambia about COVID-19. Because of your generosity we've been able to conduct educational outreach throughout the community. We invite you to watch our updates and learn more about our relief efforts. At this time, we do not need additional funding for our COVID Relief efforts. But you can give in support of our building fund, which will help us create even stronger responses to future challenges.
Help Us Today
For just $6 a day we can fund one caregiver serving in the community. No gift is too small. Please help us by giving your best gift of any amount today - your help is urgently needed. Any funds received beyond the COVID-19 Relief needs will be applied to our related programs.
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We have 75 Caregivers serving as the front-line educators to prepare their community. They have received formal training conducted by the Zambian Ministry Of Health. They are distributing fliers in Nyanja and Bemba, the local languages as well as house-to-house conversations to explains the situation. The caregivers will be stationed at the markets, community water-taps, and other high-traffic areas encouraging people to use soap, maintain social distancing, and if possible, stay in their homes.
Critical Food Rations
We work hard to grow food all year long at the 3 Esthers Farm to support the community. But because of this situation, we'll be purchasing food as well. If a farm crop comes into harvest during the period of relief efforts, it will also be used to support the community. This will be managed through the caregivers and provided to people who are in quarantine and in most need because of the COVID-19 impact.
Soap For The Community
Our soap team has been working hard to serve the community for several years. Our production capacity has been scaled up to 1,000 bars a day. The soap is being distributed to community members with instructions about frequent hand washing as well as the other COVID best practices including social spacing. The goal of the team is to reach as many households in Ngombe Compound as possible - all of them if possible. We want to thank our ministry partner World Vision for the raw soap materials.
Update Video 9, 8/12/20
Update Video 8, 5/12/20
Update Video 7, 4/17/20
Update Video 6, 4/13/20
Update Video 5, 4/05/20
Update Video 4, 4/01/20
Update Video 3, 4/01/20
Update Video 2, 3/31/20
Update Video 1, 3/28/20
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: You mentioned Esther in the video? Who is she?
A: Esther is the team leader in Zambia. She is the founder of Needs Care School, which has been our key partner since 2009.
Q: Where do you get the soap shown in the video? How will it be distributed?
A: The raw soap is provided by our ministry partner World Vision. They receive it from a manufacturer and provide it to us as a donation.
Q: Regarding masks - what is the focus now? Is there a source for the fabric to make the mask covers?
A: Our current emphasis is to have our sewing cooperative in Lusaka make covers for the N95 masks, which we have been able to source locally. That may change in the weeks ahead. Although we appreciate the offers of masks made in the U.S. the logistics involved in getting them to Zambia make it un-workable at this time. The international shipping time alone is generally 4 to 5 months, which means having the local Zambian team sew covers and/or masks is wiser at this point. They can source fabric locally for this purpose, but the funding to purchase the fabric is needed and will come from our COVID-19 Relief effort funds.
Q: Will the school teachers be paid while the school is closed?
A: We have made a commitment to our entire team in Zambia that they will receive full funding during any work closures. That includes the teachers and other school staff as well as the seamstresses and soap team.
Q: What about the seamstresses? What will they be doing to help?
A: You may see the seamstresses in the update videos helping with the soap project. It is our primary activity in response to COVID, and it is ‘all-hands-on-deck’. When they are not sewing, they will be helping support the effort in other ways.
Q: What is the population and size of the Ngmobe compound?
A: Estimates range from 120,000 to 150,000 people. Prior surveys have indicated that half of the population there is under 15.
Q: Will the food at the Farm be harvested in time to help with food distribution?
A: Unfortunately, as of late March, there isn’t a large crop ready for harvest. But as we go forward, food from the farm will be woven into the ministry efforts.
Q: Will there be a care worker at the water stations to provide health information?
A: There is an ongoing debate as to whether caregivers should be stationed in high-traffic areas to share information, because of the high potential for transmission. But the team is working on plans to safely do this. Locations would include the community water taps (where people draw water) and open market-places. Because most households in Ngombe don’t have running water, or much food storage, it is not realistic to think they will shelter in place. This is part of the intense challenge that Ngombe presents when it comes to COVID-19.
Q: How are the donations being used?
A: We have a very lean budget that includes a small daily stipend for caregivers, money for food, and other supplies like personal protective equipment, transportation of soap, and other small expenses. No U.S. overhead is being taken out of these funds. You can give with confidence.
Q: What is the best way to donate to the cause?
A: Giving directly on our COVID-19 Relief landing page is the best option, because we receive the funds instantly. You can send a check to Sew Powerful, 218 E. Main Street, Auburn WA 98002. Indicate the gift is for COVID Relief. Giving via a Facebook fundraiser is fine, but the funds won’t be dispersed to us for 90 days.
Q: What’s happening with the purse program during this time
A: Schools are closed in Zambia do to the COVID pandemic. So distributions are temporarily on-hold. But they will resume as soon as schools re-open. We have thousands of girls waiting and many purses to distribute.