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Progress report Star of Hope April  2021
By: Dennis Thern

jul argentina

The schools in Argentina started in February and March according to the regular schedule with restrictions. For Chaco, where we work, the schools began in March. Our preschool Jardin Alba started in mid-March for the 5-years old kids. In April, the preschool will also welcome the younger kids. At the same time, we inaugurated the new playground (with the high wall for security) in the preschool's backyard. The monthly food distribution continues. The distribution is spread out over more days than usual due to pandemic restrictions.

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For our local partner in Belarus, BelAPDIiMI, the work has run mostly normally under 2020 until now but with some program changes due to Covid-19 and local restrictions.

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São Paulo schools
Our seven schools in the São Paulo area are open. Not all parents let their children attend schools in general, so our schools are not running at full capacity.

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Schools were closed down for almost ten months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but Ghana's government has announced the reopening of schools since January 18, 2021, for school children to go back to school by observing all the safety protocols. Recently we carried out a health screening in our projects where about 1,000 children were screened. Overall ok, but there were many cases of malnutrition in Moree. The parents were given diet recommendations. In all, there were also 20 cases of malaria, and they received prescribed medication. The biggest issue was dental problems, where parents got advice to help children take care of their teeth better. A number of the children with teeth problems got treated on the spot.

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The schools are generally speaking up and running. There are almost 3,600 school children in seven schools this year. They get education, lunch and have access to water and toilets. In Bois Negresse, there is a significant water shortage in general. In April, we start a fundraising effort to build a new water reservoir in the village. There several other projects the Haiti team wants to implement. Due to security reasons, our team doesn't travel to the projects as much as before, or rather seldom. The projects have received cameras to document the work in general, especially for special activities and events. 

Mark Presson CEO spoke with Myrta in Haiti and she talked about the prevalent violence. "Haiti needs a revival and the love of Jesus to quicken their hearts as this violence is too long lasting," said Mark. Myrta also said "Tony was away and could not travel back to their home just now due to violence". Please pray for Haiti. 

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The school in Jimba has now finished several construction projects. There is now classrooms for each grade up to grade 8, the final grade in primary school. The dining hall is completed with a proper floor and furniture. There are more projects on the wish list for Jimba to develop the school further. At the end of March, the second school semester ended in Kenya. All classes except grade 8 are now on a break until the beginning of May. Grade 8 pupils sat for exams at the end of March. All 68 eighth-graders in our projects did the exams and are now waiting for the result. The result will is crucial if they qualify for high school. Twenty-seven of them were from Jimba. It was the first time we had pupils from Jimba sitting for exams, a significant step forward.
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The state of emergency continues until the first week of April. It will maybe be continued. The current restrictions will continue for April. These government-issued restrictions mean that the Velki Association staff cannot travel to visit the projects and children. Schools, special schools, and centers are opening and closing on a local level to various degrees. For example, the special school in Riga that we work with lets the children study outside. The schools we sponsor have been available and closed to various degrees.
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Distance learning still ongoing. The classes are organized online when possible. For children without internet or proper devices, their parents pick up homework and assignments in school and return weekly. The construction of the new school building is moving forward and is near completion. The classrooms still need furniture and other equipment. Thanks to a recent large donation from Norway, the school building and building for abused girls can now be completed.

Metropolitan Manila, together with nearby provinces Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal (including Taytay), are under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). There are hard lockdown and extended curfews, and all this until April 4, and maybe longer. This makes it difficult for the children and their families at our school in Taytay.

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Romania & Moldavia
Star of Hope centers have been up and running for the last couple of months but with restrictions. The staff works hard to support the children in the best possible way during the circumstances. The resource center for Roma children in Pantelimon is permanently closed! In February, we carried out a relief distribution to needy families after fundraising in January. Families received firewood, food supply, winter shoes, and more. In some areas in Romania, older school children are bound to homeschooling which is complicated for many disadvantaged children. Our resource centers are a great relief for these children so they can do their tasks and homework.

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The teachers are still working with the children with a computer in their homes; they also put work in the school books and drop it off for the parents to pick up every week. The teachers would put in enough work for a week and interchange with the parents on Fridays. There are also occasional food distributions to the children that are in need.

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