We want to share what is happening in Latvia.
Text by Tamara Shabazova from our partner organization "velki association Latvia".
The third month of self-isolation has begun
On 7 May 2020, the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia decided to extend the state of emergency which began on 13 March up till 9 June taking into account the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
At the same time, a decision was also made on the gradual lifting and loosening of particular COVID-19 restrictions beginning on 12 May.
From May 12, up to 25 people are now allowed to gather.
Schools will continue their studies remotely until the end of the semester. Students who do not have to pass the 12th-grade exams will be able to go on summer holidays, which will start from June 1st to August 31st.
Starting from 15 May 2020 international carriage of passengers via airports, ports, by buses and rail transport to Lithuania and Estonia and from Lithuania and Estonia has resumed.
The nationals of the Baltic States and persons legally residing there may travel in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania without any restrictions provided that the person:
- has not traveled outside the Baltic States for the last 14 days;
- is not in self-isolation due to having tested positive for COVID-19 or having been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19;
- has no symptoms of a respiratory infection.
A total of 94621 examinations were performed in Latvia, 1025 persons became ill and 694 recovered, 22 died.
Latvia's registered unemployment rate has risen to 8.2% of the economically active population. At the end of April, there were 72917 unemployed in Latvia - 10991 more than at the end of March when 61926 people were unemployed.
Latvia has the second-lowest minimum wage in Europe after Bulgaria, according to data published by Eurostat on February 3.
If the minimum monthly wage in the EU countries is compared according to the level of purchasing power, eliminating price differences in the member states, Latvia is in the last place.
Everyone has their own, individual way, and mechanisms to deal with the crisis. At a time when most of society is forced to live in isolation only within its family, we are looking for new ways to live our daily lives. We cannot wait when we will be able to live in the old way. We need to start living in the situation we are in. These circumstances, when we have to work differently, also allow us to see different situations in a different light. Velki Association, ( Star of Hopes Partner) tries to approach the situation creatively. We use the funds that are safe for public and personal health reasons. We continue to contact with our target group by phone, use Zoom, Skype, and other means of communication. It is important to stay in touch, to understand how people are doing, what the situation is, how families cope with everyday life in these pandemic conditions. In online are featured everyday situations, spontaneous action, people are more truthful in crises.
The beginning of the crisis has been survived - a shock with bright and unexpected emotions. In the next period of crisis - the reaction phase has come with attempts to adapt to the situation. It is characteristic of this crisis that people try to look at the situation in a positive way, for example, to share ideas on how to cook a full meal every day, how to spend the day, how to exercise at home.
For a while, it's even exciting, but there are families who in this phase of the reaction have to do a lot of things at the same time. Many families fail. Therefore comes anger at times, frustration, fear, shame arose that you are not a good parent. It should be noted that children also survive this crisis. Children, especially those with functional disorders, are often unable to express their emotions in words, but in behavior - they scream and stubbornly do not listen. This creates additional anxiety. Imagine a parent who is trying his best to create the perfect day structure for a child and a child who is surviving his or her internal crisis. Conflict inevitably develops - the external crisis creates the internal crisis of a person.
The problem situations of families are very different, but the unifying element in all of them is the crisis - the challenges that parents have to deal with concerning a child with a functional disability. There are also relational crises in families, problems in parent-child relationships, especially with teenagers.
Families who have been able to function in a relatively balanced way so far are not doing well. Parents need to learn to work remotely and become a children's teacher for one, two, three children with all the challenges that go hand in hand with the new situation. You need to provide a good learning environment at home, have to prepare lunch, and still be able to do your remote work. If someone could say a specific date when it would all end, even if it were after a long time, it would be easier.
The next phase of the crisis is acceptance when a person creates an algorithm for action in the new conditions. Our target group is not yet ready for this task. Uncertainty about what will happen is the most devastating. The great uncertainty about the future delays people in the reaction phase. It must be taken into account that life does not always happen as described in the books, and so it is with the crisis. It can certainly be the case that, in the reaction phase, we again find ourselves in a state of shock, especially in the current situation in Latvia, when the health crisis will be followed by a social and economic crisis. The situation and action in a crisis generally do not depend on a person's education or income level. Everyone needs support and help.
This is a time when everyone is called to think about the immeasurable role of the family in people's lives, appreciating the importance of the family, taking care of family values, paying more attention and time to all members of our families - parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, and children.
The family has always been and will always be the source of strength that allows us to overcome the difficulties of life and gain support in any life situation. If there are strong families, then there will also be a strong country. When you need willpower and support, it is the family that gives you the strength to endure.
Velki Association would like to share with you the messages we received from families who are raising children with functional disorders. In this time of crisis, we support parents remotely not only by providing psychological support but also financially. And for that, we have to say a big thank you to the Star of Hope organization,through which we can support families who are raising children with functional disorders. These will be just a few of the messages we receive from the parents.
I wanted to say a big thank you to Star of Hope for your support both now and all these years! So much has been achieved only thanks to your work! (A Mother who are raising a child with a rare disease that affects brain activity)
Hello! We received your donation. The whole family sincerely thanks you for your great care for us. We are doing fine. Mārtiņš (Martin) resumed (after a two-month break) visiting the Daycare Centre. He was very tired of being at home for such a long time. Next week, various project workshops will start in the Daycare Centre - ceramics, music, art therapy, sand therapy. Mārtiņš likes pottery workshops best, he doesn't like music, but we don't insist either. Sincerely thank you again for your important support and may God protect you all and us. (Martin has a mental disability)
Dear Velki Association! Thank you very much for your support and gifts to our family! Thanks also to Ilze Lielpetere for psychological support to me as a member of the Parent support group! We live in Preiļi. Jelena regularly visits the Day Care Centre. She is very satisfied with classes and events in the Day Care Centre. Together with us are living my mother. (Jelena is a person with Down syndrome)
Velki Association testaments:
Anastasija is attending the Parent support group since 2002. She has a vision disability, but thanks to the psychological support she received, she was able to help not only the children but also herself. She studied social work and now it is a reputable and knowledgeable expert.
The COVID-19 time is difficult. We are happy that at least some of the public places are opening, like a playground for children. We hope that the summer will be warm. If we survived three months in isolation than we will survive till September and hopefully the school will be open. Thank you so much for your support! We were very surprised and grateful for the financial support during this difficult time. (A mother are raising a son who has autism and mental disability)
Good morning! Thank you so much for your help. The money was very helpful to us.I bought clothes for Agnes - long pants, slippers.When she is nervous, Agnes is peeing in her pants and then she needs a lot of long pants.Now at least we have something to change. Once again, thank you so much for the support! (Agnes is a girl who has deep mental disability and autism)
We would love to share with you more messages which we received from families, but it would take a lot of your time to read them all.
Dear friends! I would like to end this long article with a special and encouraging passage from the Bible!
Numbers 6:24-26 The Lord bless you and keep you [protect you, sustain you, and guard you]; 25 The Lord make His face shine upon you [with favor], and be gracious to you [surrounding you with lovingkindness]; 26 The Lord lift His countenance (face) upon you [with divine approval], And give you peace [a tranquil heart and life].’
Please donate here: https://www.starofhope.us/give/donations and write Latvia on the comment field.