It is more than six months since Fredy escaped threats and uncertainty in his homeland, Colombia. Together with his wife and three children, he found a safe refuge in Belgium.
Then came Coronavirus and lockdown.
Fredy and his family were forced to stay inside their shelter but were taken care of by a kind member of the local community in Lint. To provide for his family, Fredy started baking and selling bread.
“One day the local Adventist pastor came to buy some bread and brought me good news: we were going to get support from ADRA,” Fredy said. “For us it was the hand of God, I can’t express it any other way. ADRA’s help came when we needed it most.”
This was an answer to prayer for Fredy and his family. “We had nothing and could only pray to God. He replied and offered help through ADRA,” he remembers with tears of joy in his eyes.
Milena, his wife adds, “It was a blessing because, thanks to this support, we could move forward and continue with our small business of making and selling bread.”
Fredy and Milena are two of more than 42,000 people whose lives have been supported by ADRA during the current COVID-19 pandemic in Europe. ADRA exists for moments like this: to bring hope, relief, and innovative solutions to complex situations and ‘to serve so all may live as God intended’.
Over 17,000 ADRA staff and volunteers are serving on the frontlines across Europe. ADRA teams provide shelter and food for the homeless, support healthcare and mental health services, support education, and help vulnerable seniors, youth, children and families. And this happens far beyond the borders of Europe. As both a global grassroots network and a faith-based organization, ADRA is active locally and on an international scale. Its development and humanitarian efforts have always been closely connected with local communities, accelerating long-lasting and sustainable solutions.
Support on the European continent
Seventeen ADRA country offices* in Europe are supported by the Adventist church, ADRA International, and donations coming from the Church of the Latter-Day Saints. A further six** are provided humanitarian support from their own financial resources.
The total worth of projects of almost half a million euros is providing support to around 14,000 households or 42,000 people. Humanitarian assistance has been offered to people since the beginning of March 2020 and will continue until the end of the summer.
The main activities are:
- Food and hygiene kits for homeless or vulnerable persons and families,
- Mental Health support,
- Support for virtual schooling and online learning,
- Construction of testing centers for hospitals plus protection for infection departments,
- Production of textile masks and delivery.
European ADRA Support for Developing Countries
European ADRA offices provide support far beyond the boundaries of Europe, mainly in developing countries. ADRA officers constantly seek new funding opportunities to protect the lives of people due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Ten ADRA offices are supporting humanitarian activities in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Projects have been implemented in South Sudan, Yemen, Tanzania, Lebanon, Sudan, some West African countries, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. ADRA teams are actively negotiating with donors for additional funding as needs are growing every day with people facing enormous challenges to ensure the survival of their families.
“ADRA believes that solidarity in action with developing countries is a positive moral decision and must include the ability to exercise a long-term vision,” states ADRA Europe CEO, Joao Martins. He also sees the pandemic is a global solidarity test. “If we as an interconnected global family fail this solidarity test, consequences might leave deep wounds in countries left behind, paving the way for all manner of extremism and new crises – from pandemics to conflicts – that would threaten everyone,” he adds.
The world and its inhabitants are currently learning a painful lesson of a deeper understanding of human ties. We are all interconnected and are members of one human family. ADRA appeals for a mature and responsible global solidarity that puts people first.
*ADRA offices providing support across Europe:
In the Inter-European Region: Belgium, Bulgaria, The Check Republic, France, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain.
In the Trans-European Region: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Montenegro, Netherlands, N. Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia.
**ADRA offices providing humanitarian support from their own financial resources. These include Albania in partnership with private donors, ADRA Germany and the Check Republic; Austria, Finland, Hungary, Poland, and the UK.