Challenges for the Ministry of Hope Center (Latvia) During the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic brought with it many challenges. The need to isolate the mothers and children proved quite challenging. The Center workers had to be more vigilant and ensure that social distancing and hand washing was observed as much as possible. The surfaces continually had to be disinfected. The mothers with learning disabilities had to be repeatedly reminded and explained anew the reason for the new rules. Financially, the unexpected cost of disinfectants and extra food put a sizeable stress on the budget.
The pandemic made us realize how important the ministry is to these mothers and their children. The Center was able to ensure that they were kept as safe as possible. They had to be continually reminded of the need and the seriousness.
Over the years, the constituency of the Center has changed dramatically. At the moment, all of the mothers living at the Center are officially classed as having learning disabilities with different degrees of severity. There are no mothers that cannot take care of their own basic physical needs, but all have difficulties in assuming accountability for their actions, planning, and fulfilling their obligations. They all must be trained to remember to put their child’s welfare as a priority. Some, who have been at the Center for a while are now capable of working outside the Center. Problems arise if the employer loses patience.
There is a huge shortage of facilities willing to work with these mothers and lately the Hope Center seems to be the top candidate for placement. This has certainly brought many challenges to the ministry.
The COVID-19 pandemic required great vigilance. The presence of babies and children put the Center under great scrutiny by the government. The Center was closed to all visitors and the mothers and children had access only to the grounds of the Center. This meant much more work for me. I had to do all shopping and transporting of clients to their medical appointments and the staff had to enforce the restrictions and new rules.
The everyday challenges associated with teaching and reteaching the mothers and keeping peace before the pandemic all paled by comparison.
But despite all these challenges, the support from FMIE helps us to continue this important ministry among mothers with learning disabilities and their children.
Gita Binane, director of Hope Center in Latvia