Like in several places of the world, East Timor was also hit by the pandemic Covid-19. Though, here in the country the situation was less serious than in other places, the government requested the emergency state and required the closing of schools, churches, public places. Only the essential like supermarkets and drugstores, and hospitals kept working.

This lockdown has affected us as PEPE, because we had to stop our activities with children, but before closing, we passed to them and their families all the guidance about hygiene and social distancing. The missionary-educators kept the contact with the children and their families through telephone, and the churches assisted as they could the families and the missionary-educators. The government also gave a financial assistance to the poorest population and it benefited our PEPE families as well.

When the educators were contacting the children, they always said they were missing the project a lot and how much they wanted to return to their classes. So, after two months of lockdown, as the number of Covid-19 cases were stable at the country, the government decided to reopen the activities with schools and everything else. The ministry of education gave the needed guidelines, as for example to make a general cleaning in all the schools in the first two weeks of June. And of course, PEPE in East Timor followed all the guidelines from the local government and prepared to receive the children.

Then the educators met with the parents on the 17th of June and gave all the information related to the safety measures for this new period of work of PEPE. Like, children to stay home if they have fever or any other Covid-19 or flu symptoms. They organized the classroom respecting the distance between children and wearing masks is compulsive.

So, by God’s grace and the for the joy of the children, who were so anxious to return to their activities, on June 18th the three units of PEPE in the country were reopened, with the necessary care and following the guidelines of the ministry of education. We are grateful to all of you who prayed for us and our children. And we keep counting on your support and prayers because the challenges are big.

Madalena Marques
National Coordinator of PEPE in East Timor 

Edited by Halima Ferreira