Florencia is 13 years old and lives with her grandparents in Paraguay. Florencia is very worried about her family's economic situation, as they used to make and sell fabric flowers for events. In her country, the quarantine began on March 10, generating violence, unemployment and uncertainty.
Due to the pandemic, Florencia's family no longer has any sales. So they began making mouthwashes and drying and packaging medicinal plants. "I ask the authorities to take care of the girls, because they are more vulnerable," Florencia says.
"What worries me most is the unemployment during this pandemic, the economy is going down a lot, more than it was already down, many people no longer have a job or a bread to give to their children," says Florencia.
To date, more than 900 positive cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed and, due to restrictions, 88,000 job suspensions have been recorded. The forced confinement, to prevent the spread of the virus, meant that many children were locked up with their abusers. According to data from the Public Prosecutor's Office, approximately six children and/or adolescents were daily assaulted during the quarantine.
"I am concerned when I see the statistics that the cases of violence increased a lot", says Florencia.
Bianca, 12, is concerned about the educative situation faced by the members of her community and about the difficulties of learning remotely. Also, her household income has decreased since her mother, who is a confectioner, no longer sells as much as she used to.
"Home schooling for some is difficult because they don't have the internet or a cell phone," says Bianca.
Bianca is also concerned about those children who have nothing to eat or who suffer violence: "I am concerned about those children or adolescents or women who suffer different types of violence in quarantine and have no one to tell because they cannot go out”.
Plan International Paraguay, as part of the response plan, began delivering food and hygiene kits for girls. This action is intended to reach more than 18,000 families and more than 6,000 girls between the ages of 11 and 18 in 370 communities in San Pedro, Guairá, Paraguarí and Caaguazú.
In order to help these families, we have the support of the Ministry of Children and Adolescents, the Public Ministry, the municipalities and more than 1,000 volunteers and community leaders and educational institutions.
In addition, handwashing stations will be set up, staff will have the corresponding biosecurity equipment, posters on prevention and proper handwashing, disinfectants for shoes, bags and hands will be posted.
In Paraguay, Plan International will benefit more than 130,000 people directly, through the delivery of 18,000 food kits, 6,000 hygiene kits for girls and women, 12,000 play kits for children aged 3 to 10, and 18,000 disinfection and cleaning kits. It will also strengthen 220 CODENIS (Municipal Councils for the rights of children and adolescents), 180 networks of community protection mechanisms and 300 young entrepreneurs. The investment so far is $500,000, and proposals to finance emergency aid continue to be developed.