By Justin Powell

We’ve reached out to our partners to find out how they and their communities are doing.  Here are additional updates from several of our partners abroad.


Trat, Thailand: Meaw

It is reasonable to presume that COVID-19 is still considered a public health concern. Thailand has experienced cases in nearly all provinces around the country. Since the first case was identified, various measures have been implemented at national and provincial governmental levels. The country has experienced being put on curfew (10pm until 4am) and lockdown extended for over three months.  The government has taken a public health perspective, rather than rushing to reopen the economy.  There has not been community transmission in Thailand for over a month. Recently, the government has slowly been reopening the economy, looking at opening businesses where social distancing practices can still be enforced.

Glovolex has had to stop our work since our volunteer services are based upon foreign workers, with boarders closed and no volunteers; there is technically nothing that can be done and as many other businesses have had to shut down. Even though there are no cases in Trat, it has been locked down and we are not able to move around which also means the economy has been suffering— we have mostly suffered from the economy crashing rather than the actual virus itself.

Due to the boarder closures, most of our big humanitarian projects cannot be completed. Our physical projects must wait until when the situation will allow us again. Due to the economy crashing, there is nothing else much we can do besides trying to get through this period of time.  

I hope as this situation improves that Glovolex can maintain the close working relationship with Youthlinc and the communities in Thailand upon a return to ‘normality.’  The more teams we host here is better for our impact in the wider community. This goes a long way in helping out the community, which I am sure they are significantly suffering.

Chiang Mai, Thailand: Jim

The situation in Chiang Mai is similar to in Trat where Meaw lives.  There are travel restrictions, schools have been dismissed, and the economy is suffering.  The good news is that Thailand has effectively brought COVID under control and there is no longer community transmission.

Sadly, it has meant that we are unable to really do anything as Travel-to-Teach relies on volunteers, both domestically and internationally.  Both types of travel have restrictions.  We’ve had to put everything on hold until a lot of the restrictions are lifted.

It’s very difficult with the current restrictions. The only support we can give to the poor and homeless at this time is donations such as food and water.  Many people have been donating as there is little support from the government.  Hopefully we can resume normal operations as quickly as we can, although we would have to be careful because there is chance the virus will come back.  We will have to reassure people because they might be uneasy about foreigners coming back too soon, possibly spreading the virus. We hope that Thailand will be more accommodating to foreigners coming here to help those that need it when the time is right.

Nepal: Binod

The status of Covid 19 Crisis in Nepal is quite mild.  I say this because we have not had any fatalities related to Covid 19 and those diagnosed with Covid 19 at the moment is less than 60.  However, one must consider the fact that the government does not have enough test kits at its disposal; therefore, the number of those who could be having the virus might not be accurate.

The government of Nepal made a very good decision to stop domestic and international flights from the 24th of March and since then has been able to maintain a successful nation-wide lockdown which could be one reason for the virus not being successful to cause havoc.

As of now, the lockdown is due to open in the summer sometime, but it will depend on our southern neighbor India when it actually happens.  It does not make sense for opening the country if India, with which we share a huge porous border, is under crisis.

Due to the Lockdown we have not been able to travel out of your home office; however, we have always tried to be abreast with how things are developing in Nepal and have been able to help more than 20 families around the village where we live who now have no income as they are daily wage earners. 

Even though Youthlinc groups are not coming to Nepal I feel they can support families who are struggling to make ends meet.  Our trek crew who use to do 6 to 8 treks this season could only do 2 so they could not make enough money to take back home.  Most of them were working for the two Youthlinc Trips in 2019.  I spoke to the teacher at Khanigaon and she said there were families in the area we worked who are need of support to buy basic supplies and I feel that is the same for Lele, too.  In the village there are people who are very poor with no land and depend on daily work to sustain themselves. 

The way we have helped the families in our area is by providing:

20 kg of Rice

4 kg Lentils

2 kg Beans

3 ltr Cooking Oil

4 bars of Soap

And the cost for the above was about US$ 30 per family.

Jamaica: Hilbert

Jamaica has been focused on monitoring arrivals and contact tracing based on known cases.  As of June 15, Jamaica recorded four new cases of COVID-19. This brings the total number of confirmed cases for the island to 621.

The last 24 hours also yielded 10 additional recoveries, which puts the recovery numbers at 430 and the recovery rate at 69.2%.

There are currently 181 active cases under observation, including two critically ill patients.

The island’s testing numbers are now up to 16,892, following the testing of 400 new tests in the last 24 hours. In addition to the 621 positives, there are 16,223 negatives and 48 pending

As a volunteer, we have had to curtail our movements due to the curfew that has been in place and didn’t have the essential services designation to allow unrestricted movement. As of now, the new curfew hours are 10pm to 5am.

We look forward to the Youthlinc Pen Pal program. We are arranging with the team and Principals to get their input.

Fiji: Joji

As of now Fiji COVID19 free and we do not have any new cases, but Americans have been banned from entering Fiji due to the extent of the disease there.

The government still has restrictions on social gatherings and curfew in place. School resumed on June 30th.

The best way to support us still is through school supplies and seeds for fruits and vegetables to plant in the school farm since people have lost jobs especially for family members who work in the Tourism sector. Planting fruits and vegetables will ease the burden of parents trying to cater for their children’s meals at this difficult time.

We hope to return normality and of course welcome YouthLinc back to Mataso as soon as possible.  Hopefully in December 2020!

COVID-19 around the world Part 2: How are Youthlinc’s international partners faring?
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