On Saturday March 15th 2020, following the announcement of two new cases of Covid-19 in the Kingdom, the Cambodian government applied measures to stop the spread of the virus. The first of these measures, summarized in our April newsletter (here in French), concerned the closing of all the educative establishments in Phnom Penh, a few days after those in Siem Reap.
One of Taramana’s main actions is to greet Boeng Salang’s children for daily classes, but we decided to follow the given instructions as for other schools. The Taramana Magdalena center has been closed since Monday March 16th until further notice.
Suspension of the Center’s activities
The closure of Taramana means a temporary halt to all the activities that directly involve the children. The classes, as well as all extra-curricular activities (such as rugby, football, outings…) have been suspended. The same goes for the canteen and the infirmary, which used to greet children every day.
At the same time, the social team also had to stop their family visits. The social surveys are therefore put on pause, but the participation in housing costs (rent, electricity, water…ect) and the rice distribution inside Taramana have been maintained. As the children inside families with the greates difficulties can’t benefit from a free meal every day, it is important for us to continue to provide them with food support. The rice distribution still takes place on the first Sunday of each month and is being carried out in accordance with the health instructions set out by the Cambodian government. Additional quantities of rice were prepared in advance in case of national restrictions.
Concerning the planned events, they will not take place on the scheduled dates :
- The Green Day, a waste management awareness day was supposed to take place on March 23th at the center and within Boeng Salang’s community, but it will be reported to a further date.
- Khmer New Year, usually celebrated in the center with activities, games and shows gathering children, teachers and volunteers was scheduled for March 3rd, but is unfortunately was canceled. But no worries, the children will have plenty of occasions to celebrate when the center reopens !
Staff stays mobilized
The activities of the center are on hold, but not the staff ! Visal, our nurse, became a volunteer on a training class about Covid-19, more specifically on prevention measures, safety equipment and the way the virus spreads. This follows a call for help given by the Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Ministry of Health. On March 25th, 422 doctors and nurses were prepared for the fight against coronavirus. This measure aimed a human deployment to support and assist health centres in Phnom Penh and the provinces alongside thousands of other health workers already mobilized. In the meantime, our nurse remains reachable by phone by the Boeng Salang families, if they need it. The same goes for Jocelyn Dordé, Taramana’s President and doctor by profession, currently in Cambodia.
The social team also remains active, between file updating, preparation for the next social surveys and a collective reflection on an improvement of individual social support. Moreover, our social assistant, who lives in Boeng Salang’s community is acting as a bridge between families and the rest of the staff. He can also closely monitor the families, if necessary.
Concerning the teachers, class suspension has allowed them to have more time to prepare for the coming months. The program will include, the usual classes of course, but also a mathematics competition, new moral education sessions and some Cambodian national special days presentations, which will take place several times in May.
Finally, the French staff are pursuing their missions in accounting, communication and fundraising which are, by their nature, less disrupted by the closure of the center. The volunteers who came for the last months had to stop their mission prematurely and go back to their respective families in France.
We will keep you informed of developments concerning the Cambodian situation, especially for the children and their families. In the meantime, take care of yourself and others!