How the Wellington Luo Community are working together during COVID-19

In this COVID-19 Lockdown, Jude Opira Bidong and other volunteers of the Luo Community are already busy. They’re transporting and delivering essential goods and food from supermarkets to their community members who are elderly, sick or unable to get to the shops themselves because of self isolation requirements. Some have become more vulnerable because of wage reductions or job losses and those who can are providing koha to purchase and deliver extra food parcels. “Working together keeps us feeling positive and linked up,” says Jude. Jude is the co-ordinator of Luo Community in Wellington region, representing the diverse East African community living there. Members come originally from Uganda, Congo, Tanzania, Kenya and South Sudan. “We also run a translation service to ensure our community members understand the key COVID safety messages. We phone or message community members to make sure everyone is accessing and understanding the public health messages as well as employment scenarios and the government mechanisms for support, including wage subsidies.” “Culturally, we are collectively-minded. Our social bonds are always strong. The isolation makes people lonely and when we can’t meet up and they can’t afford extra phone top-ups to ring their home countries, it’s hard. “I mow the lawns for some of our people. It means they can still enjoy a freshly mowed lawn outside their home and that makes them feel happy.” Hui E! Community Aotearoa have been helping match pro-bono grant writers with community groups, including the Luo Community, during the COVID-19 Lockdown.