In Lomé, the capital of Togo, COVID-19 restrictions have made the lives of homeless people even more difficult—many of which are children and single mothers. Humanity & Inclusion’s teams visit the streets at night to assist them as their precarious living conditions have worsened. We recently checked in with one of Humanity & Inclusion’s staff members Eli Koffi Afossogb who shares more about our outreach in Lomé:
Assisting the homeless
Humanity & Inclusion launched a series of actions to promote the basic hygiene of homeless people in Lomé and supply them with food aid, and to help reassure the rest of the population about their state of health. In the future, our actions will include opening two centers for the most vulnerable, including children, isolated women, and people with disabilities, where they can get a health check and psychosocial support. Two mobile teams visit neighborhoods at night to provide consultations. Our goal is to help 3,000 people.
Earning an income doing odd jobs & begging
At least 15,000 people live on the streets of Lomé, a city of two million inhabitants. Many are children, teenagers, and single mothers with young children. Before the pandemic, they often earned money doing odd jobs at the Grand Marché in Lomé, such as carrying groceries or parcels for customers or traders. Begging was an important source of income for them, enabling them to just about survive.
Businesses on lockdown
As a result of the curfew and the restrictions put in place from March to May to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Grand Marché was closed and the homeless lost their source of income. Although the restrictions were lifted in June, the recovery has been slow. There are fewer odd jobs to do. People who are afraid of them because they see them as potential vectors of disease are more reluctant to give them money when they beg, leading to a serious deterioration in their living conditions.
Not enough to eat
Restaurants were also forced to close for two months. Many homeless people used to eat what restaurants threw out. Only some of the restaurants have reopened, leading to a spike in cases of undernourishment.
Desperate & overwhelmed children
Some homeless people have been forced from the places where they used to sleep. Before the curfew, a group of children aged between nine and 15-years-old used to sleep near the post office. Now they spend the night on the pavement. Some are at risk of sexual abuse. We have seen children overwhelmed by fear and despair.
Focus on the most vulnerable
As COVID-19 takes aim at our planet's most vulnerable neighbors, Humanity & Inclusion donors ensure that people with disabilities, people with injuries from conflict, children, women, and especially older people have the information--and even the soap--they need to stay healthy. Learn more about Humanity & Inclusion's vast COVID-19 response.