As with many other charities working in the UK and overseas, the coronavirus (COVID-19) is having a huge impact upon our charity.  These are unprecedented times and we are working hard to ensure that our staff and beneficiaries overseas are supported as best we can.

UK

We continue to remain operational and fully comply with the government guidance on managing the risk of Covid-19, which has enabled our office to become COVID-19 secure. We have taken a number of steps here in the UK to ensure we are compliant in all areas: 

  • We have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and shared the results with our staff.
  • We have done everything practical to manage transmission risk.
  • We have provided cleaning, handwashing, and hygiene procedures in line with government guidance.
  • We have taken all reasonable steps to help as many of our staff to work from home as possible and are still working hard to support the UK office and our beneficiaries overseas.  
  • Where our staff cannot be 2 metres apart, we have done everything practical to manage the transmission risk of the virus. 

Whilst we have undergone a re-organisation of resources, which has increased costs, we are facing reduced income:

  • All events and meetings have been cancelled, which obviously has an impact on the work as it affects our donations too. 
  • Fundraising events via our supporters have been cancelled or postponed, resulting in loss of income.
  • Regular donations are being cancelled, due to people’s financial situations changing as a result of the effects of the coronavirus
  • General donations are reduced

Overseas

During the lockdown in the UK, we have been in regular contact with our teams overseas, working remotely with them providing support as they followed their own country’s guidance, some of which meant they had no choice but to cease working. 

All our teams overseas have been provided with extra training on COVID-19, how it is transmitted, good hygiene and safety controls, deep cleaning methods, enough PPE to protect all of our staff who are on the front line, the use of required PPE and how to follow safe distancing rules, as outlined by their respective government authorities, as well as training on what to do with a suspected case of COVID-19. 

Kosovo

Due to legal reasons and their government lockdown policies, the work in Kosovo had to cease as a curfew was introduced, but we are pleased to report that our palliative care teams are operational again with special government issued passes to carry out their work. This is such a relief to our palliative care patients who have undoubtedly found it difficult without our team’s support during this time. 

Uganda

During the past couple of months, our teams have been working as much as possible and have been in contact with some of our beneficiaries to check on their welfare. With Uganda’s government now easing their regulations, our projects are now starting up again.

Zimbabwe

There have been quite a few restrictions in place, which has meant the majority of our work in Zimbabwe ceased but our team have been in regular contact with our widows and pastors and have been able to distribute food parcels to our widows, pastors and child headed families. Whilst not everything is back to normal, our teams are in touch with our beneficiaries and following the government’s guidelines. We pray that soon everything will return to normal in Zimbabwe which would enable us to start all our programmes again.

 

India

Our team in India has provided the vulnerable and most needy with food parcels during the past couple of months, in accordance with their government’s policies. The food parcels gave enough food to sustain families for a month at a time. They are hoping to shortly recommence the Bible College training for pastors and evangelists, and as soon as possible, for the pre-school.

 

Thank you for your prayers for all our teams and beneficiaries overseas during this global pandemic and please continue to pray for all those working hard to help the vulnerable and needy. Although we are experiencing challenging times as a charity, we know the Lord is with us and we continue to trust Him in all things.

Please do keep in touch with us as we would love to hear from you but bear with us as it may take longer than usual to reply to you. 

If you would like to donate online to help with this current situation, please visit https://www.smileinternational.org/donate or if you would like to donate through the post, then continue to use our postal address PO Box 1414, Peterborough, PE1 9WG.

Thank you to those of you who are already giving through sponsorship, regular giving, or one-off gifts.  We really value and appreciate every donation.

Thank you again for your support and we pray you and your families stay safe.

Tim Doubleday

CEO