Coronavirus is having a catastrophic impact across the world, and for families in remote communities the challenge couldn’t be greater. Our CEO, Tim Howarth, shares why we're launching an emergency appeal. 

When we started our UWS journey back in 2008, our ambitions were humble and almost naively simple - to give a few hundred children living in some of the poorest villages in the world the opportunity to go to school.

And we did.

Since then, we've developed over 220 schools, giving over 36,000 children the chance to learn to read, write and count. We've been inspired by the support we've received at each stage of our journey. Over the last twelve years, we've dealt with all sorts of challenges - financial crises, earthquakes, civil unrest, flooding, blockades and tribal conflict, to name but a few. All part of the challenge of 'teaching the unreached'.

But somehow, today - right now - feels different. As I'm sure as you are aware, the impacts of Covid-19 are about to hit the poorest countries in the world. They will be hit disproportionately hard. We’re deeply concerned about the communities we work with, which are remote, extremely poor and have very limited healthcare facilities. And, based on evidence from crises like Ebola, it's likely the most vulnerable that will be most affected. That includes women, girls, the poorest and those with disabilities. We are an education organisation who find ourselves on the front-line of supporting some of the world's most vulnerable communities to manage Covid-19. For obvious reasons, all our schools in Cambodia, Myanmar and Nepal are temporarily closed. 

Which means that today, tomorrow, and for as long as it takes, we're committed to supporting our communities in every way we can to help them manage the impacts of Covid-19.

During this time, we are:

  • Continuing to pay all of our community teachers 100% of their salaries so they can support their families
  • Conducting staff training and community information sessions on Covid-19
  • Developing and improving our curriculum provision, including low and no-tech solutions to home learning
  • Stepping up our sanitation and water provision

Through our trusted relationships with community leaders we can support and empower hundreds of people in each community - as we have done in the past, and will do in the future. When this is over (and it will be) we will reopen our schools. We will look back on this moment and remember the many, many small acts of kindness, done by us and to us. 

And, I hope, we'll be even prouder to do what we do. Please support the UWS Covid-19 campaign. Together we can save - and transform - lives. Thank you.

Tim Howarth
Chief Executive Officer, United World Schools

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