We appreciate that you are probably getting multiple messages from services and businesses you've used to let you know how they are handling the current Covid-19 situation.  So at the risk of adding yet another item to your reading list we wanted to give you a brief update on how this is impacting our friends and colleagues who operate our beneficiary projects in Tanzania and South Africa.
Kilimanjaro Young Girls in Need, Tanzania has closed the school for 30 days in line with the Government advice.  The girls from the safe house are staying with teachers for the time being as, for some, their safety would be compromised if they were sent back to their homes and others have no immediate family to return to.  Anna, the project director is in regular touch with the teachers and they are monitoring the situation carefully.
Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust, South Africa has closed all of it's income generating and economic empowerment initiatives following the announcement of the 21 Day lockdown from Thursday 26th March.  A comprehensive prevention education programme has been delivered to the staff on site and to the communities who receive services, with particular emphasis on the need to maintain their medication regimes and practice social distancing.  They have severely restricted visitors to the 24 bed respite unit, where already tight sanitation, hygiene and infection control measures have been reviewed and enhanced where necessary. Essential staff are staying on site to avoid the risks of travel and ensure they can continue to provide their invaluable care to these most vulnerable individuals.  Group events have been cancelled and the lifeskills and peer education programmes are suspended in line with the school closures.
1000 Hills Community Helpers, South Africa have suspended activity at the centre following the announcement of the lockdown.  Prior to that they had already closed the creche and the preschool and reception classes earlier in March in line with the nationwide school closures and suspended the computer skills training.  They have published an emergency number and will seek to assist where they can at this extraordinary time.
iSthembiso, South Africa, the Gogo Lunch Club is still in operation although it will be impacted in a couple of days by the lockdown.  Russell is finding it difficult to source food supplies due to the panic buying but is trying to ensure the Gogo's (grandmothers) at least have a small supply of rice and beans so they can limit their activity during the lockdown.
First Step Right, South Africa the creche, preschool and after school club closed in line with the nationwide school closure as did our friends at Number 9 creche nearby.  This is concerning as, in addition to providing early childhood development, they also play a vital role in providing nutrition and child safety, as does 1000 Hills Community Helpers.
Sangobeg Scholars are experiencing the closure of the universities in Durban and Pietermaritzburg.  Those studying at UNISA can continue to access material online as long as they have access to equipment and the internet.
We are monitoring the situation very carefully and we aim to support where we can. We are working remotely and will keep communications open on our social media channels and through our website. Thank you for your continued support at this very difficult time. 
Please stay safe and look after yourselves and your loved ones.
kindest regards, Claire & all at GAGA UK