Supporting Children in the Covid-19 Era
Shamiso (Not real name) is a grade 6 pupil at Chinembiri Primary School in Chitungwiza District. During a conversation with her on how life in the Covid-19 era is like, she displayed much confusion and dismay. Like every other child in Zimbabwe, her way of life has been disrupted, no going to school and no more playing with her friends in the neighbourhood.
"We closed schools a while ago and we were told we will only come back to school when Corona virus has ended. I wish all this could come to an end so that I go back to school. I miss playing with my friends too.”
Children in Zimbabwe only attended school during the first term in 2020, and had to abruptly close schools two weeks before that term ended, to curb the spread of Coronavirus in schools. It is now two months of staying at home and missing out on school for most children, as the opening of the schools’ second term on 6 May has been postponed in response to COVID-19.
To support children like Shamiso in the era of COVID-19, Save the Children’s education programme is implementing the" Education Cannot Wait" Campaign in Epworth and Chitungwiza town. The thrust of the campaign is to raise awareness on CoVID-19, provide psychosocial support to children and their families and pave ground for home schooling to ensure learning continues at home .
A total of 200 volunteer teachers from Chitungwiza and Epworth have been trained and they will be conducting door to door sessions in the community.
COVID-19 Awareness Campaigns
The volunteer teachers are training children and communities on how to protect themselves from getting infected. These sessions include, the importance of washing hands with soap and water, wearing face masks when in public and maintaining a safe distance of at least one metre from others.
Supporting children through distance learning methods
Save the Children believes that children’s learning should not stop because of emergencies or pandemics like COVID-19.The "Education Cannot Wait" (ECW) project is facilitating for home schooling through volunteer teacher who are conducting door to door sessions to educate parents on how they can assist children to catch up with learning as well as distributing learning materials for children. These volunteer teachers have been tested for COVID-19 and have their temperatures checked daily as a measure to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Psychosocial Support (PSS) for children
These are difficult times for everyone including children, most of whom have had their routine lives disrupted, have many unanswered questions and need support. The door to door PSS sessions are being conducted in Epworth and Chitungwiza to enable children to express their fears and get support to enable them to cope during these difficult times.
In addition, children are being given face masks, hand sanitizers, sanitary wear (for girls), buckets, soap and disinfectants for use in their homes.
Shamiso is one of the 20 000 boys and girls who are benefiting from the programme which is being implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Primary And Secondary Education, the District Development Committee, the local councils and the Department of Social Services.