The vulnerable will suffer and struggle the most with the devastation brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. The poor. The disabled. The unemployed. The widow.
ACT staff member Georg shares of his encounter with Latifah*. The story of one amongst the many that ACT has been seeking to help through our coordinated response efforts to the crisis.
At the beginning of April, a friend got in touch. News had reached them about ACT relief efforts; that we had started distributing food parcels amongst families in need in the area. They asked how we were selecting recipients. They told me about Latifah.
Latifah is a widow. She also has a twelve-year-old son. Like so many others in Tunisia in these difficult times, they have been struggling to make ends meet.
In the south, ACT has used distribution lists put together through local partners in order to deliver relief packages. I only receive the lists after families have been identified. We knew, if at all possible, we needed to find a way to help Latifah.
ACT values working together with our partners, using our networks and coordinating efforts in such a way as to try to reach the greatest need. Our partnerships have always been important to us, and at a time like this, we are more grateful than ever for these relationships. We were able to put Latifah in contact with a local partner who would be delivering food and hygiene parcels in her area. A partner with a specific heart for helping vulnerable women. A perfect match.
Someone from the partner gave Latifah a call and coordinated a drop-off. Latifah and her son would soon be delivered food items to last them for a few weeks.
When the day came when the package of food was to be delivered, the two volunteers from our partner called me to ask to stop by first. Then we could sort out a few things, and they could be on their way. I thought this was a good idea and I sent them my location – being in confinement meant they would come to my street (as having them in my house is not allowed).
It turned out that the widow lived 100 metres up the road from me. We were neighbours! I was able to meet both of the volunteers, Latifah and her son.
The next day, I received a message from my friend that Latifah had called her after the meeting. She had cried on the phone: that someone cared about her had moved her deeply. Someone she didn’t even know was giving her food, had brought it to her home, and she had been treated respectfully. She felt valued as a person – and not just as an object of charity.
She shared that this experience had really touched her. Not only was she put on the list and given food, but she was shown real care. Someone was genuinely concerned for her and her son.
It may seem a simple enough story, but for Latifah it has been an experience unlike any other. Suffering in the middle of a global crisis met with action and kindness. ACT is glad to be playing a part in relief response throughout Tunisia, but it is stories like Latifah’s that we are most honoured by.
* name changed
ACT has been able to give hope to Latifah thanks to the incredible generosity shown by so many people around the world.
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