We are finally saying goodbye to 2020, a very hard year for all of us, in which the extraordinary health emergency we have experienced has been, and still is, a threat to health and well-being around the world.
This year has been particularly difficult for the most vulnerable populations, who have suffered both the direct and collateral effects of the pandemic. The coronavirus has even deprived the most fragile groups of essential care and basic assistance.
Like many NGOs working in developing countries with a focus on social-health projects, Beyond Suncare’s work has been affected and hampered by the direct effects of the pandemic, as well as by the measures put in place to control its spread.
However, if we have to choose a word that illustrates our relationship with this 2020 that we so eagerly left behind, it is resilience.
Resilience to overcome problems and obstacles, standing our ground in the face of adversity and thus, with creativity, optimism and a redoubling of efforts, reinvent ourselves, pivoting without losing our focus, putting the best of us to continue carrying out actions that contribute to improving the lives of the most vulnerable: people with albinism in Africa, our raison d’être.
If we have been able to face the new reality with a resilient attitude, it is because we have found motivation in the needs of the most vulnerable groups in the South and in the commitment and support of our collaborators, who, even with their personal challenges, have reinforced their commitment to our mission.
We are not going to deceive you, in 2020 we have noticed a significant drop in donations from large entities, many calls for grants and awards have been suspended or redirected to anti-Covid-19 projects in Spain, leaving organizations like ours, which operate far from our borders, in a very delicate situation.
But on the other hand, thanks to people like you who in this difficult year have decided to reach out to us, we have managed to triple the number of members and double the private donations that have been trickling into our account and allowed us not only to continue with our mission, but to expand our work, combining the actions we have been implementing with activities to stop the spread of Covid-19 in the African countries where we work.
Thanks to your help, 2020 has also left us with good news:
- In Malawi, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the National Association of People with Albinism, we launched our flagship program with national coverage that is changing lives for people with albinism in 8 of the country’s 28 districts.
- We created partnerships with NGOs and dermatology working groups to launch projects in South Africa, Angola, Mozambique, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- We saw our field team grow with the incorporation of local talent and long-term volunteers.
- In June, we celebrated the International Albinism Day with the organization of the “Run for them” virtual solidarity race, which was joined by more than 150 people who walked, ran or cycled all or part of the 628 km between Madrid and Lisbon.
- We successfully launched the campaign “10 Reasons Beyond” in which five great women with albinism of international relevance reached out to us to make our achievements visible.
- We established exciting collaborations with laboratories such as 5punto5, Galenika, Peak LabsTH or Masderm, entities that in different ways have decided to support our cause.
- We presented our work in relevant conferences such as the “European Days of Albinism” or the congress of “What Really Matters”.
- We ended the year with a long awaited news, the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation (AECID) granted Beyond Suncare the official status of Non-Governmental Development Organization (NGDO) which, among other advantages, entitles our partners and donors to tax deductions.
For all these reasons, even though it has been such a tough year, 2020 has left us with important achievements to celebrate.
We are not letting our guard down because there is still a lot of work to do and many vulnerable people to serve. But we are certain that, with you by our side, we will be able to achieve the impossible and improve the lives of many of them.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!