Our urgent response

Our urgent response

Facing the battle together

There's no doubt the challenges we are all currently facing are unprecedented. We are all adjusting to a different way of life to prevent the coronavirus spreading further and faster than we could ever imagine here in Australia.

When emergencies happen around the world, we are experts in delivering life-saving aid to communities, who are often the most vulnerable and in the hardest to reach, and poorest places. But we also support communities before a disaster like COVID-19 strikes, potentially devastating thousands of lives. World Vision is focusing on protecting vulnerable children and their communities in the Pacific, and in other high-risk areas in developing countries, where health systems are fragile or almost non-existent.

Education is our best defence

Globally, World Vision has deep experience and expertise helping communities prepare and respond to virus outbreaks. We have worked to combat the spread of Ebola in Africa and Zika in Latin America, and to educate thousands of communities about basic health care and disease control. To fight the spread of the coronavirus we have already launched education campaigns on hand washing and respiratory hygiene, isolation and the promotion of healthy family and community Water, Sanitation and Hygiene behaviours.

We are also working with community health workers and volunteers and through digital channels to establish public handwashing stations, distribute soap, sanitisers and masks where needed. 

Communities are also being supported with ongoing education for children and extending education support for self-isolating families to reduce their stress and anxiety. 

A simple but effective weapon

During the 2003 outbreak of SARS – which was also a type of coronavirus – washing hands 10 times a day cut the spread of the virus by 55%. Proving a simple approach can be incredibly effective. 

The entire world is facing the COVID-19 crisis – and regardless of where we are in the world, we are facing this challenge together.

Our increased response to combat COVID-19

While not currently being featured in the media, COVID-19 has already reached developing countries that are ill-equipped to manage a pandemic. Using our knowledge and understanding of the predicted number of COVID-19 cases and the state of national health system in the relevant countries, we have identified where the coronavirus has the potential to have a devastating impact in the communities we work in. By focusing on the most vulnerable children, especially refugees and displaced children, and those living in communities with low access or weak health systems, we can make a difference. You can find information on COVID-19 and sponsored children below.

Basic food and hygiene supplies being provided for isolated families in Mongolia

Basic food and hygiene supplies are being provided for families in Mongolia.

Soap for hand washing in Cox's Bazar Bangladesh

World Vision, in partnership with UNICEF, is distributing soap to Rohingya refugees.

In each community where we work, World Vision staff and volunteers are closely monitoring the coronavirus situation and are already adjusting our programs to respond to the changing needs. There are three different scenarios for the 54 countries where sponsored children live: 

  1. Our child sponsorship programs are operating as usual and already responding or are preparing to respond. In these communities, we will focus on preventing the spread of the virus, and to mitigate its effects. We are also working with health authorities to provide accurate information about coronavirus to our community partners.

  2. Our child sponsorship programs are operating, but with some restrictions. In these communities, we have paused some of our less time-critical work to limit close contact between children and other people, but all other work continues.

  3. Our child sponsorship programs are on hold and an emergency response is underway. Staff and volunteers are turning their focus trying to keep the children we serve safe. This may include assisting with home learning, if schools are closed, by providing school materials and activities, or preventing the separation or stigmatisation of children during treatment and isolation. 


The safety and wellbeing of the children we serve is our highest priority. If your sponsored child becomes seriously ill from coronavirus or any other illness, we will contact you with known information as soon as it’s operationally possible. 

We know from experience in the Ebola crisis and other disease outbreaks, that the secondary impacts of the coronavirus can be devastating for children living in poverty, specifically losing a parent or older caregiver. If your sponsored child loses a parent/caregiver to coronavirus or any other illness, we will contact you with known information as soon as it’s operationally possible. 

Yes. In fact, we hope you will!  

In such uncertain times, your sponsored child or their family could be experiencing fear, isolation or uncertainty and they could benefit from knowing you are thinking of and/or praying for them. In almost all countries, mail services are still operational and the World Health Organization advises that mail does not spread coronavirus. In impacted areas, it may take longer for your letter to be delivered but rest assured that it will, as soon as it’s safe to do so. If international mail restrictions are placed on any countries where we work, we will provide immediate updates. 

Yes. If your sponsored child is not in an area impacted by COVID-19, you will receive a reply from them in the usual timeframe. However, if your sponsored child is in an area impacted, it may take longer than usual to get a reply. This is because our movements may be affected by government/local health authority restrictions. As soon as it’s safe to do so, a reply will be sent. If international mail restrictions are placed on any countries where we work, we will provide you updates. 

Yes. In communities where our child sponsorship programs are operating as usual, gifts will be delivered to children and communities as normal. In impacted communities, the process may take a little longer than usual as we prioritise the safety of children and their families, but it will still occur. And when it’s operationally possible to do so, you’ll receive a letter and photo to show the impact your gift made!  

At this point in time, we expect that many sponsors will receive an annual progress report and update photo from their sponsored child later this year. However, because of the dynamic nature of this pandemic and because our priority is always the safety of children, their families, and our staff and volunteers, there could be delays or some delivery challenges. We will keep you updated as more information becomes available.  

Because of the dynamic nature of this pandemic and because our priority is always the safety of children, staff and volunteers, some sponsors will experience delays in receiving photo and video updates from their sponsored child and the child’s community. If this happens, we ask for your patience and will keep you updated as more information becomes available. 

A COVID-19 appeal that Australians can support has been launched.