Families can text or call us if they have any doubt, or if they need someone to listen to them.
The most urgent need for families is to be safe, well-fed, warm, and supported. In Argentina, Covid-19 pandemics is developing when the winter season is approaching, on top of a deep economic crisis. So THSN partner Haciendo Camino had to act quickly to adapt. But Mariana, executive director of the organization that runs 12 children centres supporting in total 1,500 families in Northern Argentina says that ‘we are so used to work in crisis and dealing with difficult situations that the whole team was very ready to face all the changes'. Discover more in this interview with Mariana, executive director of local THSN partner Haciendo Camino.
Roughly half of the families have access to Internet to their homes, but the other half doesn't. So they are likely left behind because they don't have that kind of connection.
My name is Mariana Parola. I'm from Buenos Aires, Argentina and I'm executive director for Haciendo Camino. We've been working on the field for almost 15 years now and we work in prevention and treatment of child malnutrition and we support families, and mothers especially, living in underserved communities and facing a lot of struggle and vulnerability.
How are you facing the COVID-19 outbreak?
Even before quarantine was declared officially, we gathered up with the team to start thinking of redesigning our internal processes and also thinking about new strategies to reach the families while making sure they stay safe at home.
We have child centers across the region and over 100 professionals working in the field. So it was a little bit challenging to make all these quick changes, but on the other hand we are so used to work in crisis and with difficult situations that our team was very ready to face all these all these changes.
We have social workers and nutritionists visiting the families taking all the proper precautions. We're doing checkups to the children bringing food and bringing supplies, and we're also creating content to spread information and also activities for the children so they can keep learning at home.
We are also making sure that every family has the contact number from someone from our team so they can text or call in case they have any doubt, any topic that they want to discuss, or even when they need like an ear to listen to them and be there for them.
What are the greatest challenges you see amongst the people you are helping?
We see a lot of confusion, overwhelms, sadness, uncertainty but also in some cases hope. We see a lot of adaptability definitely and a lot of new learnings like for example with personal hygiene.
Many families that we work with are finding really challenging to stay at home and because some families are very large and they live in a small house.
Also there's been an increase in domestic violence, unfortunately. Also a lot of families working informal jobs are losing their income.
Children not going to school also puts an enormous burden on families and especially mothers in order to catch up with all the homework and all activities and also, in terms of technology, it's even more visible.
How do you feel the situation will evolve for the families?
I think this pandemics is deepening a lot of chronic problems that we have been having over decades.
So we have like a lot of discussions going on about inclusive education, modernization of institutions and investment in preventive measures and I think that's good. But there's a lot of work to do while also navigating a deep economic crisis that were having here in Argentina.
What is the most important need for you and the families you support?
The most urgent need right now for the families is to be safe, well fed, warm and supported. Winter is coming here in the Southern Hemisphere and with it all the winter diseases that adds up to the Covid situation. So prevention and assistance with food and supplies for us is key. And we're really grateful for La Caja in Argentina. They helped us with raising funds, to get supplies and to get food to reach these families. So that's been an enormous support for us. From the organization’s viewpoint, our priority is keeping our professionals and employees safe, not overworked and careful.
They are heroes in these as well. And we want to keep them safe as well.