The Covid-19 pandemic has stripped many families bare and has left them vulnerable and uncertain of their next meal. Many of our school-going beneficiaries, who find themselves in such homes, despaired. Residential care beneficiaries have different levels of uncertainty and knowledge of technology. Babies and toddlers received occupational therapy on-line and thought it best to put the smart phone in their mouths.
On the positive side, Covid-19 catapulted us into online schooling. This is particularly necessary for Grades 11 and 12.
On the negative side; many children and students do not have access to the internet. They do not have smart phones and are unable to afford data.
*Sabelo expressed his fears and uncertainty to Tshepiso Ndlovu, a childcare worker from our Community Care programme in Zola.
“I’m in Grade 12 and it has been very difficult for me to focus on my school work. I live in a small shack with my mother and siblings. There is not enough room for all of us to study peacefully and I have had to resort to studying from midnight to 3 am. Financially, we are drowning! My mother has not been able to work due to the lockdown and this is stressing her very much. I don’t want to add to her stress by asking for data.”
Children in Residential Care had to work on managers’ and sometimes houseparents’ computers and personal tablets. One campus manager received schoolwork on her computer and cell phone and then distributed the learning material to the children. Children in satellite houses could receive video calls from volunteers and donors.
Sabelo is not the only young man that was left feeling anxious and uncertain about his future. A number of the children in residential and community care, especially those in Grades 11 and 12, felt the same. It is heart breaking to witness that fear as well as the lack of knowledge to use technology.
We asked our donors for money for data and the response was overwhelming.
Children in our care, whether in community services or residential care now have access to data to continue their online lessons. We also monitor the use of data and internet material closely.
We are deeply grateful to know that whenever we are in desperate need, we are able to call on our donors and the community at large to assist. Without hesitation, you heed our call. Thank you to all the donors who have made this possible. Your support changes the lives of so many children.