COVID-19: Support from partner churches immensely important

Hans-Jürgen Johnke (middle), Mission EineWelt staff working in El Salvador, hands over food and a canister for washing hands to members of the congregation in El Volcan. Photo: MEW
Hans-Jürgen Johnke (middle), Mission EineWelt staff working in El Salvador, hands over food and a canister for washing hands to members of the congregation in El Volcan. Photo: MEW

Germany: Mission EineWelt provides relief for partner churches 

(LWI) - "The willingness to assist is of inestimable value for the people in our partner churches,” says Katrin Bauer, director of the Fundraising Department at Mission EineWelt, which is the center for partnership, development, and mission of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria (ELCB). "As church organization we can rely on our donors to help in an emergency.” 

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic Mission EineWelt has established a relief fund for people in the partner churches of the ELCB. To date, over EUR 215,000 has been donated and matched by the ELCB as of 31 July 2020. The ELCB is a member church of the Lutheran World Federation and maintains partnerships with 22 Lutheran churches worldwide. 

Support is urgently needed. "So far, we have received applications for 31 aid projects totaling about EUR 170,000," says Katrin Bauer. "And further requests have come in. Given the uncertain situation worldwide, we can expect many more inquiries." 

The COVID-19 pandemic is a threat to life, directly or indirectly. Many people in Africa and Latin America do not have access to sufficient medical services, and when they fall ill, they have a higher risk of dying of the virus or its long-term effects. 

Also, lockdowns and restriction of movement put livelihoods at risk. For anyone working in the informal sector - and in Africa and Latin America, many people are doing that - contact restrictions rapidly lead to the loss of their sources of income, which otherwise would guarantee at least their survival. 

Critical situation in El Salvador

Thanks to the support of various Lutheran churches and also from the Mission EineWelt relief fund, food aid has been delivered to 700 families from the Salvadoran Lutheran Church

Hans-Jürgen Johnke, who was posted to El Salvador by Mission EineWelt, reports that 700 families from El Volcan in the east of El Salvador could be provided with foodstuff. 

The reasons for the emergency lie in the loss of work through the pandemic. "The informal labor market has collapsed. Work in the factories has also been restricted – if there is no work, people will soon lose their jobs. Also, the monthly remittances from Salvadorian citizens working abroad have declined massively, by about 40 percent," Johnke explains. 

Education, hygiene, protective equipment 

Various projects have been initiated in Tanzania, Kenya, and Liberia with assistance from donations to Mission EineWelt. The focus is on education about the virus as well as precautionary and hygiene measures. Equally important are deliveries of protective medical equipment and food. 

"Covid-19 still maintains its grip on the world, as the latest WHO figures show. For that reason, it is important that our assistance to the people in our partner churches does not stop," says Katrin Bauer.