Emergency Support – COVID-19

Our heart goes out to you as you suffer through this pandemic, see family members and friends die, and are unable to gather for worship except by Zoom. We in Brazil can empathize with you because the situation here is even more chaotic and catastrophic.

Recognised as one of Brazil’s leading schools of theology and religious studies, we have made an enormous effort to make theological education available even during these exceptional times. Covid-19 forced us to switch to distance learning in March 2020. Statistics from around the world are emerging to show that black people are disproportionately affected by Covid-19. We see this at UNIDA. Most students have made the transition with us. However, many young Afro-Brazilian women – without computers or internet access – have not.

Our course coordinators recently held a series of consultations with our students about the stresses and strains from Covid-19, and social distancing measures. The number one effect highlighted by our students is loss of family income, subsequent socioeconomic pressure and new domestic arrangements. Women are the first to suffer this Covid-19 reality, leaving their studies to care for and support their families.

At UNIDA, we want to find a way to work through this. We believe in education that transforms lives in a country that is violent and violently unjust. We realize that this is the worst possible time for you to make a financial contribution of any kind, but even a small contribution would help keep young Afro-Brazilian women in education, avoiding the disproportionate effects of Covid-19 and interrupting their studies.

Today, we are launching an emergency Covid-19 scholarship fund, with the aim of raising US$10, 000 to ensure that young Afro-Brazilian women can complete the semester, supported fully by UNIDA. It is the least we can do in these exceptional times. We invite you to partner with us through a gift, small or large, to help us to meet our target.