With the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) rapidly spreading across the world, it was only a matter of time until it would reach Armenia. Within weeks of the first confirmed case in the country, the government announced a countrywide State of Emergency, which went into force on March 16, 2020.
With the existing socio-economic inequalities in Armenia, the current pandemic hits the most vulnerable classes the hardest. The elderly, people with disabilities and chronic illnesses are most vulnerable to the virus itself. On the other hand, single moms, daily wage earners and unemployed young people that form a large segment of the Armenian society, have heavily felt the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. Particularly, daily wage earners, who have only been earning enough to sustain their families on the bare minimum, have been forced to stay at home and be deprived of their daily income. The situation is most vividly present in social housing dormitories, where the dwellers, most of whom always had poor nutrition and low access to good hygiene and healthcare, are now almost impoverished and starved.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, APY launched a rapid response initiative and fundraising campaign, mobilizing young people in Armenia to help limit the COVID-19 crisis and counter its negative impact on vulnerable populations.
Within the first four days of the campaign, its members and supporters raised 2,500 euro in individual donations to buy monthly food and other supplies for the elderly, single mothers and unemployed people at high risk. Up to date, several local companies joined the campaign, doubling the raised amount to 5000 EUR.
About 150 seniors, single mothers and unemployed people at risk have already benefited from the initiative, receiving monthly packages of hygiene supplies and food boxes, composed by nutritionists. Around 600 volunteers from across the country joined the initiative and now APY is soliciting donations from businesses in order to support 2,000 seniors and other vulnerable people.
APY plans to ramp up its efforts with the aim to expand the number of beneficiaries. It plans a direct intervention of providing monthly consumables and sanitary supply boxes to the mentioned target group using the existing collaborations with the Yerevan Municipality and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of the Republic of Armenia. The organisation will purchase the necessary food and hygiene items and pack them into rationed monthly-supply boxes, which later on will be distributed to the beneficiaries by the team of volunteers, who will receive special protective gear from the Ministry of Health.
The volunteers and the APY team members will also disseminate flyers and inform the beneficiaries about the measures of protection from the virus, the importance of social distancing and the necessary steps to take if they should feel ill.