In June 2020, the LATA Foundation set up its emergency Covid-19 appeal in a response to the devastating impact the global pandemic is having in Latin America. The appeal provides small grants to a range of charities and organisations that have been severely impacted as a result of the global pandemic.
Since establishing the appeal, the LATA Foundation has supported nine emergency projects so far. The latest projects to be confirmed include:
XtraOrdinary Women supports women from low income and high-risk environments in Nicaragua with free training, emotional support and job placement programmes, as well as support to set up their own small businesses. The programmes provide tools to help women become economically independent and break the cycle of poverty. The grant will help these women, some of whom have set-up small businesses, to survive throughout the pandemic.
Sinal do Vale is a charity and learning centre located in Duque de Caxias in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The aim of the organisation is to encourage and support sustainable policies and the regeneration of communities, food systems and forests through education. The Covid-19 grant will cover the cost of food baskets for between 35-40 local artisans who are not able to sell their wares due to the pandemic and have previously received training from Sinal do Vale.
Healing Venezuela is a volunteer-run organisation which aims to alleviate the health crisis in Venezuela offering medical assistance in an impartial, neutral and compassionate way. The LATA Foundation grant contributes towards the distribution of PPE, gloves and sanitary cleansers and gels in key health centres throughout the country.
Chilldren Change Colombia tackles the issues of sexual and gender-based violence, commercial sexual exploitation, and the forced recruitment of minors into armed groups. During the pandemic however the charity has appealed for PPE and first aid kits for communities located along the banks of the isolated San Juan River. This area has a heavy presence of illegal armed groups, and there are death threats if anyone gets the virus. The grant will help enable each community to have PPE and medical provisions.
Finally, many Peruvian porters located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas no longer have any income due to the lack of tourism in the area as a result of the pandemic. The LATA Foundation is contributing towards monthly food parcels for 55 porters, muleteers and cooks that the organisers of the project hope to distribute until the workers are in a position to fend for themselves.
As well as dedicated grants to support emergency Covid-19 appeals, the LATA Foundation has also reallocated funds based on urgent needs, such as in the case of Kids Saving the Rainforest (KSTR), located in Costa Rica. Since the onset of the pandemic, KSTR has lost all of its income and the project is fighting for survival. Given the impact of the pandemic, funds have been redirected to help support the project’s survival.
LATA Foundation projects embrace new technologies during pandemic
Although local lock-down measures have varied across Latin America, movement and gatherings have been severely restricted and this has added to the challenges of delivering projects. Some of the LATA Foundation project partners have shown remarkable resourcefulness in using technology to continue their work.
XtraOrdinary Women were due to start their business Bootcamp for Entrepreneurs at their head office, just as the Nicaraguan government imposed local lockdowns. The tutors transformed the in-person classes into a fully digital course which was then taught via Whatsapp and Facebook because these are the most affordable platforms that their students can access from home. 25 ladies competed the 3-week bootcamp in May and a virtual graduation ceremony took place on the 4th June 2020. XtraOrdinary Women continues to mentor the women individually to give them the best chance to sustain their livelihoods.
Similarly, in Brazil, Project Vidançar, which teaches ballet and dance to underprivileged children in the Complexo do Alemão favela in Rio de Janeiro, continued to teach the children virtually. Their work was showcased in an uplifting video set to Queen’s ‘Friends will be Friends’ and so inspired the group that it made it onto their Facebook page.
No one could have predicted the global pandemic and the repercussions that this would have around the world. We know it is a challenging time to appeal for donations, but we value any support, however small. We are 100% volunteer run and can guarantee that all funds will be channelled into the projects that need them most. As well as donating via our Just Giving Page, we also ask for support to help raise the profile of the LATA Foundation and our Covid-19 emergency appeal via social media and any other channels. A heartfelt thank you for all the support to date. – Jude Berry, Chairman of the LATA Foundation