The Covid-19 pandemic has brought us new experiences. Before the pandemic we were confident, because the parents voluntarily attended parent education lectures to talk about each parent’s participation in the child’s holistic development. We also felt extremely confident that we had managed to get several divorced families to understand that they needed to continue to care for their child together, even in a marital separation situation. We were heartened by the news that cases of malnutrition had dramatically decreased in our communities. Furthermore, we were greatly encouraged when a parent or caretaker of a child came to the church to thank us for getting a job. However, with the arrival of Covid-19, we have seen the scene changing dramatically; with families unemployed, divorces, increasing cases of malnutrition, and domestic violence, where children and women have suffered all kinds of abuse. We have seen the amount of crime growing frighteningly in our communities; it is suffering upon suffering; it is tear upon tear. In short, this has been the new scenario imposed by the pandemic.
However, PEPE in Angola continued working, visiting families, praying with them, transmitting the word of hope and announcing CHRIST. The project’s coordination started meeting weekly with the teams from each church and project encouraging them to participate in the people’s afflictions, building a bond of prayer. The missionary-educators continued sending the activities to children and helping them to develop.
In the meantime, by God’s grace, the government has allowed the opening of churches and educational establishments in communities that are less affected by or with low numbers of contamination from the new coronavirus. This permission has enabled the reopening of 12 PEPE units that offered basic conditions to receive children. The activities are developed in more opened spaces such as temples and porches, places that favor adequate distancing or that allow for greater air circulation. The government has, on an ongoing basis, been monitoring to ensure that the churches comply with the biosafety recommendations for the children’s welfare. PEPE GOES has been held every week, either to have time with the families, as well as to support the children who still carry out the PEPE activities from home.
This is LIVING THE POWER TO CHANGE.
David Fernando Panganhe
PEPE Regional Coordination Southern Africa
Translated by Juliana das Neves Martins