What are you to do when your income relies on tourism and tourists are suddenly not allowed within your region? This is the dilemma people in at least one Asian tourist town have faced since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The people there depend almost entirely on tourism for their livelihoods, running tea shops or offering lodging or transportation to guests of their community. With no visitors allowed, the residents were left for many months without an avenue to provide for their families.
Fortunately, there is also a GFA World Child Sponsorship Program near this community, and the program became a source of critical relief for people in need during this crisis. Though authorities had imposed strict rules regarding anyone entering the district, GFA World program staff obtained permission to enter the town for the sake of a food distribution.
As a result, 101 families received critically needed food kits containing rice, chickpeas, beans, oil, salt and sugar, as well as a box of matches. The recipients were extremely grateful for the timely aid, which filled them with joy and relief. GFA pastor Petros also encouraged recipients, offering them hope from God’s Word and reiterating safety guidelines for people to protect themselves from the virus.
Aleric, who is part of the child sponsorship program, is a regular beneficiary of GFA World efforts in his community and knew of the workers’ care and concern.
“Every time I and my family were in need, the [program] has always helped us,” Aleric said. “This time, too, I was hopeful and had told my parents that our [program’s] leaders would surely come and provide help to us. I am so thankful to you that you understand us and came to save us from starving.”
Vadim, another beneficiary, was also grateful for the food kit he received.
“I have been struggling for many days, as I have no source of income due to the lockdown,” Vadim said. “I have finished all my savings, too, and now I have nothing to feed my family. But today I am really grateful to you for providing the essential groceries for my family. Thank you very much for your help.”