The continual outbreak of the COVID-19 in the Mainland China and other countries has caused a sudden increase in the demand for personal protective supplies, that their prices skyrocket. People are getting more panicked and overwhelmed. World Vision Hong Kong understands the adversity that the grassroots suffer. Therefore we have procured batches of personal protective items since January, we have already distributed nearly 186,000 pieces of surgical masks and more than 12,000 bottles of portable hand sanitisers.
Besides, the continual spread of the virus in the city has led to people being advised to stay at home. As schools are suspended, home-bound children have little choice over their daily activities, except online learning. Concerned about the psycho-social needs, we have collected nearly 2,000 pieces of toys and children’s books to give to the needy children, with a hope that they would find some joy during this stay at home period.
We have collaborated with seven local charities to deliver the protective items to the needy children and families since mid-February. They are children and families living in subdivided units or squatters, receiving assistance from food banks, receiving Comprehensive Social Security Assistance, street cleaners and the homeless.
Staff members and volunteers from World Vision Hong Kong and these organisations worked together to unpack and re-package the items, before distributing them to the needy people through their service networks. We also handed out pamphlets to remind people to remain vigilant on personal health, observe personal and public hygiene, as well as looking out for one another.
There was a family of four living in a subdivided unit in Tai Kok Tsui. Lacking of masks for protection, the mother Kiu (assumed name) and her two little girls were home-bound to avoid consuming more masks. Rather, she reserved most of the masks for her husband so that he could go out for work every day.
As she received the masks and alcohol sanitisers, Kiu said with cheer, “I can bring my daughters out to have some fresh air now! We have kept ourselves at home for too long. Last time when I brought them to the market, they were so excited that they showed me everything they saw!” As housewives cannot leave their children at home while shopping for commodities, it means they have to consume several masks at one time. This is a luxury to many families especially the poorest.
Chau (assumed name), a street cleaner working at a back alley in Mong Kok, was thrilled as she received a pack of masks. The one on her face had been washed and reused several times over the last few days. “Every day after work, I wash my only mask, steam it, iron it, and reuse it the next day.” Chau said, “I have no choice. I have no new mask because my company doesn’t give us a new mask every day.”
Other street cleaners echoed with her and said that they did the same with their masks. Inevitably, it has become a usual practice for them to use one single mask for several days to a week. These cleaners, mostly less educated elderly, have almost no choice, but to work in very unfavourable conditions. This has made them more prone to infection, yet they are often people least protected and most neglected.
We brought several bags of personal protective items to share with friends in Hung Shui Kiu squatter area.
We listened to the needy their stories of countering the pandemic.
We visited families in sub-divided units and shared personal protective items with them.
In addition to masks and hand sanitisers, we also presented the communities with leaflets on tips to counter the pandemic.
The street cleaners were excited as they received free surgical masks and alcohol sanitisers.
Community members received masks and hand sanitisers from the booth set up by our partner organisation.
We have received toys and books from corporates and organisations as gifts for children from grassroot families.
Our staff helped sort out the gifts before giving to our local partners.
Boxes of gift items were handed to our local partners to help despatch to the needy communities!
The local charities we partnered with in the effort were Industrial Evangelistic Fellowship, The Urban Peacemaker Evangelistic Fellowship, Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service, St. James' Settlement, Mission to New Arrivals, Jubilee Ministries and The Parents’ Association of Pre-School Handicapped Children.
We thank Agile Group for donating a batch of surgical masks, VTech and 4M for donating toys and Logos Book House for donating children’s books, which have enabled the "Share and Support" Scheme to address more people with various needs.
During this period as we fight against the epidemic, each of us has a responsibility to practise public and personal hygiene to prevent the virus from spreading in the community. Here are some personal hygiene and health tips to remind us to maintain our physical and mental health and encounter the epidemic situation.
Wear a surgical mask when taking public transport or staying in crowded places. It is important to wear a mask properly, this includes maintaining hand hygiene before wearing and after removing a mask.
Perform hand hygiene frequently, especially before eating; after using the toilet; after touching public installations such as handrails or door knobs; or when hands are contaminated by respiratory secretions after coughing or sneezing. Wash hands with liquid soap and water, and rub for at least 20 seconds. Then rinse with water and dry with a disposable paper towel. If hand washing facilities are not available, or when hands are not visibly soiled, performing hand hygiene with 70 to 80 % alcohol-based handrub is an effective alternative.
Avoid touching one's mouth, nose or eyes for preventing the virus entering our bodies through the hands.
After washing hands, disinfect phone with disinfection wipes. Always clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, furniture, toys, commonly shared items and floor by using 1:99 diluted household bleach, leave it to dry, rinse with water and wipe dry afterwards. For metallic surfaces, disinfect with 70% alcohol.
Eat a variety of foods in appropriate portions, to include the five basic food groups (i.e. grains; fruit; vegetables; meat along with fish, eggs and legumes; milk and milk products) and reduce the amount of fat, salt and sugar intake.
Sleep is a significant determinant of physical and mental health. A good quality sleep is vital for resting, recharging, and nourishing the body and the mind. Conversely, inadequate and disturbed sleep can affect daytime functioning and lead to a range of health problems.
Each person can use different ways to achieve the right amount of exercise depending on his/her preference. Doing less strenuous exercise for a longer period of time brings the same benefits as doing more strenuous exercise for a shorter period of time.
Take time to process your emotions, and come to terms with your fear and sense of helplessness. Keep in touch with your friends and family and show your care for one another.
Sources of reference: Department of Health, Hong Kong Red Cross, and School of Nursing, The University of Hong Kong
While the pandemic has become widespread around the world and would last for some time, World Vision is committed to walking with people at such crucial times. For the time being, we would like to ask for support from everyone to work together and care for one another, especially the most vulnerable groups. In fighting against COVID-19, we have learnt that sharing, whether it is just encouragement, information or personal protective items, is the key in combatting any pandemic. Together we will overcome the challenge. Learn more about Our Global Response