United States, Japan, and UNICEF Help Children in Residential Care Settings and Protection Shelters to Fight COVID-19
The supplies provided have been procured with the generous support of the Government of Japan and the United States Government.
Vientiane, 26 August 2020 – UNICEF Lao PDR today handed over essential hygiene and recreational kits, including soap, bleach, detergent and painting tools for more than 1,000 children in residential care institutions and protection shelters to fight COVID-19. These supplies are provided with funding from the United States Government through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Government of Japan.
“If we want to succeed in fighting COVID-19, we must keep ourselves and the surroundings clean. With the hygiene and recreational kits provided today, children will be better protected and will be able to practice proper hygiene. Moreover, they will release stress,” said Dr. Khampheng Saysompheng, Minister of Labour and Social Welfare during the event.
The supplies will be distributed among seven residential care institutions run by the Government of Lao PDR in six provinces and two Civil Society Organisations’ centres for survivors of violence and street children in Vientiane capital. Additional supplies will be provided to two Lao Women’s Union Protection Centres for women and children in Vientiane capital and Luang Namtha province.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lives of many children in Lao PDR, including children without adequate parental care. It is critical to ensure that our support reaches these vulnerable children. Providing them with access to hygiene and psychosocial services can make a big difference in their lives,” said Dr. Pia Britto, Representative of UNICEF Lao PDR.
Understanding that children living in residential care settings need additional help, since the onset of the pandemic, the Government of Lao PDR with support from UNICEF and USAID has conducted supply and capacity needs assessment in residential care institutions and protection shelters in order to prioritize its support.
“We are proud to partner with and support the Government of Lao PDR’s efforts to ensure the health and wellbeing of the people of Laos in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic,” said US Ambassador, Haymond. “I commend the Government of Lao PDR on their leadership and hard-fought success to date in preventing further spread of the novel coronavirus.”
“On behalf of the People from Japan, I would like to reiterate our support to the Government of Lao PDR. The COVID-19 is a threat to all of us and the only way to fight against it is by joining hands. We cannot leave anyone behind, particularly not vulnerable children,” said H.E. Mr. Keizo Takewaka, Ambassador of Japan to Lao PDR.
UNICEF recognizes every child’s right to a family and is supporting the Government of Lao PDR to prevent unnecessary family separation whenever possible, developing a national alternative care guideline that can promote family-based alternative care for children.
UNICEF continues supporting the Government of Lao PDR to leave no one behind and is ensuring protection services are available for children in need of help during and after COVID-19. UNICEF is also collaborating with the Government to find alternative care support to children without parental care and is providing psychosocial support to all vulnerable children.
The United States, through USAID and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, has already provided more than $7.5 million to support the Government of Laos stop the spread of COVID-19. This includes the provision of laboratory and medical equipment, technical assistance, risk communication and training for thousands of frontline health workers throughout the Lao PDR. To date, the United States has invested more than $348 million total over the past 20 years to improve basic education, promote trade and investment, and strengthen the rule of law in Laos.
About Government of Japan
Japan has provided technical assistance and medical materials through international organizations worth approximately $ 4 million to the Government of Laos, as well as grant assistance for medical devices valued around $ 13.6 million, with an aim to control the spread of COVID-19. This year marks the 65th anniversary of Japan-Laos diplomatic relations and the 5th anniversary of the bilateral strategic partnership. Japan, as a strategic partner of the Lao PDR continues supporting the efforts of the Government of Laos to overcome this difficult situation.
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.