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May Covid update 2020

Dear Friends and Sponsors,

         Since we mailed out the Spring Newsletter just a couple of weeks ago, we have been in communication with the Yashalum Board of Directors.  Like the rest of the world, the situation there is in flux, and they are experiencing challenges similar to those we all face.  Sadly, however, their poverty makes life even more difficult.

         Here’s is a translation of their latest email:

         “Unfortunately, we are experiencing a critical time in the Yajalón region. There are a number of confirmed COVID-19 cases affecting all areas of our lives. The Secretary of Health has reiterated the necessity for people to stay home in order to reduce social interaction, practice safe distancing and mitigate contagion.  We are following these recommendations, but it complicates both our work and our personal lives.

         All schools have been closed since March 20; therefore, all scholarship recipients have returned home to safeguard themselves and their families. So that young people do not miss the remainder of the school year, the Secretary of Public Education has implemented “learn at home” programs. Students can receive tutoring and keep up with homework and school activities through the internet and on social networks.

         Because our students live in rural and often very remote villages, they do not have internet access at home.  For many of them, coming into the town of Yajalon can require hours of travel, but we continue to staff Casa Santa Maria and Rancho Santiago Apóstol, so that they have a place where they can access the internet.  To maintain safe social distancing and avoid contagion, we have organized them into groups that take turns coming in. Some students can use “What’s App” on their smartphones, but this still requires that they move to locations with access to telephone and/or satellite signals. 

         Because universities are closed, our students have had to move out of their communal living situations and return to their families’ homes, so they too are challenged by the lack of internet access. In order to keep up with their studies, they have to travel to the nearest town (not necessarily Yajalon) and rely on cyber-cafes, requiring money for both transportation and internet access. 

         It is hard on us not to have the students with us full-time, and we miss the joyful noise of their daily activities. We hope that soon, we will have the students back full-time and that our lives can return to normal.

         More than ever, we appreciate the support of all the MTF sponsors and donors.  Knowing that you are behind us makes it a bit easier to face these difficult and challenging times.



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