COVID-19: Belarus church responds to schools needs
Lutheran Church in Grodno distributes sanitation supplies
(LWI) - While the Lutheran Church in Grodno, Belarus sheltered demonstrators and rings its bells daily in civil resistance, schools in the country have opened for a new school year. Some are unable to afford necessary safety supplies to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). With the help of the LWF COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund for Member Churches, the Belarus church stepped in to assist kindergartens and schools in Grodno.
Education is funded by the government in Belarus, but the director of the school is responsible for raising funds to cover additional costs such as repairs and supplies. These costs, which include protective items needed to stop the spread of COVID-19, are often passed along to parents who now are facing economic and political crisis.
A shortage of protective equipment and high demand, also means the cost of these items is high, leaving the most at-risk people even more vulnerable. Rev. Tatarnikov said the church was able to purchase protective masks, gloves, disinfectant and non-contact thermometers for teachers and students with the support provided through the LWF COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund for Member Churches.
“The help from our community and the LWF fund helped tremendously,” said Tatarnikov.
The Lutheran Church in Grodno, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, has also supported out-patient clinics and hospitals with protective gear. The materials are enough to support the kindergarten for two months and the primary school and hospital for a month. There is also a year’s supply of disinfectant for the schools and the hospital.
Nearly 2,300 people from two kindergartens and two primary schools were the recipients of the supplies.
Part of the church’s diakonia is to educate parents, teachers and students on preventing the spread of COVID-19 utilizing volunteers to distribute the supplies and inform the public about best practices concerning COVID-19 prevention.
Belarus reported its first case of COVID-19 in March and the number of cases has risen to 74,763 with 767 deaths as of September 2020.
The Lutheran Church in Grodno, Belarus, is a part of the Federation of Evangelical Lutheran Churches in Russia and Other States, which has been a member of the LWF since 1989.
The Rapid Response Fund, launched in April, supports many of the communion’s member churches that are particularly vulnerable during the global health emergency. Upon approval of a project application, a church can receive a grant of up to EUR 5,000 from the global fund supported by LWF’s member church partners around the world.