But in spite of these tough times, it has been great to see how many of our organisations have come together to help those in need and continue to work with their communities.
We want to get your views on what is happening with the people you work with and your organisation, to build a picture and develop a response, through the questionnaire here.
We have seen in Spain how our members FAGiC in Barcelona and CDE Dragones de Lavapiés in Madrid have risen to the challenge of serving their respective communities.
FAGIC (Federation of Roma Associations in Catalonia) are based in Barcelona and work with Roma populations throughout Catalunya, bringing about positive social change for the biggest and most vulnerable ethnic minorities in Europe.
The Roma people have been terribly affected, with many losing their primary sources of income and now relying on FAGIC more than ever before. Anna Carballo explains, “Our community is very vulnerable and the situation has worsened now”.
“Many Roma families who used to have work, with many self-employed working on markets, are not working and have no income at all.
“So, from a situation where they used to manage to maintain the family, the majority now has no income at all. Many others used to work by collecting scrap metal in the street and now it’s impossible to do so. So, the lockdown means that many Roma families lost their incomes.”
FAGIC has launched a 100 x1 00 campaign, the organisation has raised more 10,000 Euros to convert money into vouchers, which could be used for families to buy food and essential items. They have also collaborated with food banks to distribute food to the most vulnerable families.
Meanwhile, CDE Dragones de Lavapiés are based in Madrid and use football as a way to bring people from very diverse cultures together. Dolores Galindo explained the challenges facing young people in their local community.
“Many of our families do not have any legal work at the moment. They work by cleaning, caring for elders in homes or selling in the streets.
“It is difficult for the kids. If they don’t have internet, they can’t follow online school classes, and if they do, they may get hooked to it as they can’t go out and don’t have many alternatives. Many of them don’t have books to read either.”
Dragones’ work in the community has seen them launch a twin shopping scheme, allowing families to shop for each other, and after generous donations, they have been able to set up a food bank that feeds many people from their various teams.
“We are working every day from 10 to 8, feeding more than 1500 people who can’t play football. We are hoping that the food bank will take its own path now after the donations we have received.
“Now we need to focus on our children, and have been able to buy three reading book collections for boys and girls’ footballers, who are initiating a reading club.”
The organisation has continued to stay in contact with its coaches, and hopes they will be able to interact with the children online. “We have contacted our coaches: some of them were ill and have recovered,” Dolores added.
“Some of them are refugees, and we’re glad that we’ve been able to give them some money to help. Now we want them to start doing online meetings with the kids.
“It is difficult to foretell how the pandemic will affect us in the long term. We are in the middle of Madrid, many people will be unemployed and without income, but we have always managed to go ahead with very little or no money.”
Click here to complete the Covid-19 Members’ Questionnaire, and let us know the issues facing your organisation during this pandemic.