Help a community during COVID-19

I am just one person, trying to help families that I have grown to love and respect dearly, during the terrible crisis that COVID-19 is today. As many of you know, when the pandemic struck, I was working as a teaching assistant among different rural and indigenous communities, especially the Ipetí Emberá indigenous community, of my dear country, Panama. During that time, I ate, slept, learned and played among these families and their children, and I can say with a full and honest heart, that these are some of the strongest, most knowledgeable, creative and compassionate people I have ever had the opportunity of knowing. When I left the Ipetí-Emberá community when the COVID crisis started, I didn't realize that this could be a "goodbye", and I left a part of my heart with these families.

COVID-19 forgives no one. The increased pressures on food security and the accessibility to basic products during the lockdown, as well as the tourism inactivity in the community, are endangering their well-being. These are some of the most difficult times we have ever faced, yet I find hope in knowing our capacity to bring about change if we work together for others in greater need.

This initiative started with the goal of assisting the Ipetí-Emberá community during these difficult times, by raising funds for products of basic need, now including: Rice, lentils, beans, and soap. While food products are greatly needed regardless of governmental support which is helpful yet has been recognized as insufficient, soap would promote and enable handwashing as a prevention to COVID-19 rapid spread. However, with the wonderful support of so many caring people, we have been able to reach and surpass every target, allowing us to also include one second-hand sewing machine and fabric for the community to make their own washable and reusable COVID-19 masks. This would be a cost-effective and much needed alternative and empowerment to increase the community's protection and could become a means to create income with the selling of masks during and after COVID-19.

Additionally, thanks to this incredible gesture of generosity, we might now even be able to provide support to more communities, which are also facing difficult times. Therefore, our initial goal to assist the community of Ipetí has now extended to reaching over 500 families, including the communities of Ipetí, Curtí, Piriatí and Majé. With additional support, this could become a reality!

I stand here as your friend, family member and as a friend of these communities, asking you to be the change, and help me provide some support for a cause that can make the difference for people that are much in need.

I am just one person, trying to help families that I have grown to love and respect dearly, during the terrible crisis that COVID-19 is today.

Judith Palmer
Panam√°

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