Our collective resilience has been pushed to new limits over this past year. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all aspects of our lives – from the way that we live and work to the way we interact with one another.
As Civil Society Organisations, we have spent a lot of time discussing, adapting and reacting to the crisis and it has unsurprisingly infiltrated all of our organizational makeups – intertwining itself with our events, our activities and even our narratives and identities.
Even now, despite having spoken about the pandemic every day for the past 365+ days, we are overwhelmed as
we step back and contemplate the devastating loss of life, the crippling loneliness and isolation that we have all felt at times, alongside mental health difficulties and financial distress. The impact of this crisis will carry weight far into the future.
Last year, we launched our Annual Report writing about the impact of growing poverty and inequality on the needs and aspirations of millions of young and elderly people across Europe. The reality of COVID-19 is that it has pushed some of our most vulnerable people and communities even further into crisis and poverty.
As the primary European advocate for Diaconia, we have been working tirelessly with our Members to build strategic alliances in order to promote policy actions which break the chains of poverty and inequality and promote the inner value of each person and our democracies.
We are driven by our faith and inspired by the resilience of our 52 Member organisations who have continued to provide their services whilst adapting to meet the emerging needs of the crisis. As many of us have dealt with the difficulties of teleworking, thousands of our Members’ social workers, health care professionals and volunteers have been providing essential social services – putting their lives at risk and contributing towards making the response of churches and Diaconia one of the strongest and most effective in Europe.
Our Members have been at the forefront of Europe’s response to the crisis – and for that, we are eternally grateful.
Not only have we continued to provide our business- as-usual projects and activities, but our Members have also been bold and creative – identifying need and responding to that call for action. In Spain and Hungary, our Members provided online educational resources and iPads to children experiencing digital poverty. Our Members in Slovakia, Denmark and Germany were at the forefront in ensuring that care home staff and other frontline healthcare professionals were equipped with personal protective equipment. And in Greece and Albania, initiatives arose in order to protect migrants and internally displaced persons who were most at risk of extreme poverty.
We have a lot to be grateful for over this past year – most particularly the resilience of our Members and our secretariat. You can see this resilience first-hand in our Annual Report and we hope you can join us in celebrating our achievements and successes of 2020.
The road ahead will be tough. But, we’re committed to working together to ensure that our Members are supported, that social service provision is prioritised and that the voices of our most vulnerable communities across Europe are heard loud and clear.
Read our Annual Report here.