The world is in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic, including Brazil, which is already in lockdown as infections surge and deaths increase by the day.
Before social distancing measures were put in place, our Pink Houses were showing the girls how to keep themselves and their families safe, with 'Coronavirus Corners' with information and practical advice they could pass on to others in their homes. Two weeks ago, as schools and shops were shut, we had to close the doors of our Pink Houses too. But our amazing staff were unwilling to just send the girls home and wait for the epidemic to pass. Instead, they started to arrange one-to-one sessions with the girls, determined to continue to lead them along the important journey they have begun. And after people were advised to stay indoors last week, they have worked out ways to continue to care for the girls at a distance. That includes Whatsapp groups for the girls of each of our projects called 'MD in Quarantine', where our staff give them daily challenges, send uplifting messages, post YouTube videos with dance choreographies, hair styling or other how-tos, and are even doing online 'conversation circles' with the girls, where they talk together about sensitive issues affecting them. The theme the girls were working through before the virus - and which will now continue virtually - is 'courageous women'. Our Pink House staff are also in regular individual contact with the girls, speaking on Whatsapp or arranging times to talk on the phone, providing reassurance, advice and showing them that they are important and loved. I want to thank you all for your continued support at a time of anxiety for everyone, and much uncertainty for many. Your help is and will always be a lifeline for our girls. We will keep keeping you in touch with all that is happening as we continue to bring hope to vulnerable lives. As one of our Pink House women posted on our staff group yesterday: "Nothing, not even coronavirus, is going to stop us doing that!" Matt Roper