After more than two months of crisis related to COVID-19, our partners ateliers AGAPE and APROHADE have reopened their doors. We are regularly in contact with our artisans who demonstrate a real need to work in order to be able to get back on their feet as quickly as possible. Here is an update of the situation in Goma and Kigali, where our ateliers are:In Congo, since the first Covid-19 confirmed case in early March, Kinshasa remains the center of the epidemic, with more than 95% of all confirmed cases. The other most affected provinces are: Ituri, Haut Katanga, Kwilu, South Kivu and North Kivu, including Goma were our ateliers are.One of the main worries when it comes to a big pandemic hitting RDC is the lack reliable sources of information. That’s why, many tools have been put into place to respond to the health needs and questions of the population:– Key text messages on « how to prevent COVID-19 ».– COVID-19 Hotline, reaching now an important number of calls– TV & RADIO partnership to transmit information over distanceJoseph, Manager of Agape, our atelier in Goma – RDC“We have been told that North Kivu is the third most affected province in the country. Since Goma is part of this province, our city has been isolated for many weeks. Wearing a mask is mandatory in public places. Together with other ateliers, we have helped to produce 20,000 masks that have been sent all over the country.As far as the atelier is concerned, most of the women have been unemployed during the period of closure. We are reorganizing our way of working: The team of seamstresses stays in the workshop, while the embroiderers come to get the materials and explanations and go home to work. For most of them, this situation suits them because they have to look after their children whose schools are still closed.” On the other hand, in Rwanda, stricter measures were implemented from the very beginning. The early lockdown localized the virus in the capital Kigali and did not allow it to move to other areas. This explains the difference in the impact of the epidemic on the country: Today there are some confirmed cases, but still no deaths. Due to expanded surveillance there is no community transmission of the virus in the country. Unnecessary movements are banned except for essential services. Schools, universities, and places of worship across the country have been shut.Agnès, founder of Aprohade, our atelier in Kigali – Rwanda“A few weeks ago, the government said that we could start working again. However, they say that unnecessary visits are still not allowed and traffic is very limited because there is not enough transportation to get everyone who needs it. According to the latest news, life should soon return to normal.In the meantime, we have reopened the atelier since May 5th. The majority of the women embroiderers go there to get the materials and explanations they need to be able to work from home. A few women who live in the city stay to work at the atelier. As far as these women are concerned, we work according to the sanitary instructions: we wear masks and we keep a distance of one meter between each worker.” The conclusion to this is blatant. Helping these women to take back the thread of their life is even more vital today, as the pandemic and lockdown have increased the precariousness of their situation. Our current priority is to increase orders to give them work. This is the only way to give them back their courage, confidence and dignity.