Joanna Sun who grew up on the North Shore in Auckland has been living at NPH Dominican Republic for three years now. She decided to stay on through the Covid19 crisis to help out the kids she loves so much. Below she tells us about her decision.

Having to say sudden farewells to the volunteers as they raced to catch flights home before a quarantine came into effect was a sad moment for Korean born New Zealander Joanna Sun at NPH’s home in the Dominican Republic. Like most places around the world, the Dominican Republic has put in place strict measures to battle the devastating corona virus.

‘People are worried and scared – we have around 500 confirmed cases here in the Dominican Republic and more than 10 people have died’, says Joanna Sun. Joanna is the only foreigner who has decided to stay on at NPH Dominican Republic to help them through this crisis. But alongside the sad farewells, and the loss of some caregivers who have gone into quarantine at home, there have been some happy welcomes too. Some of the ‘hermanos mayores’ (the big brothers and sisters) who grew up at the home, have returned to help. That’s a delight for the kids, who really admire them. ‘It’s wonderful to see our NPH family pull together during this time of great need, says Joanna.

Joanna’s key concerns are to keep the children safe, and to keep them as occupied as possible. At the start of the outbreak, the children were gathered together and were told what was happening. It was emphasised that they would be looked after, and that everyone’s in this together. ‘As far as possible, we’ve kept the kids’ normal routines. They do their chores as normal in the mornings, and after breakfast they have morning prayer before they have activities in the park. School is closed of course but we are keeping the kids busy and stress-free with lots of music, sports, art and crafts activities.’

The home has no cases of Covid-19 and is taking stringent measures to make sure it stays away. Social distancing is being practiced, and only essential people are allowed in. The administration block is now completely out of bounds for the kids. Everyone wears masks and gloves if they go out for essential shopping, and all cars and goods that enter the property are carefully washed down.

The Special Needs home on the property has been completely closed off, since it contains up to 15 vulnerable children with compromised immune systems. This places them at higher risk of catching the virus.

‘We’re being careful and cautious, but we’re confident we can get through this. Above all, we’re doing all we can to make sure the kids are safe and well.’ Joanna say.

Please help keep Joanna and the kids safe by donating to our Covid19 appeal. Please donate here.

Dianna Burns   
Communications Volunteer