As part of efforts to restrict the spread of the corona virus in Kenya the government has required all schools in the country to close. Any actions that can help stop the spread of COVID-19 in Kenya are a good thing, it would be incredibly hard to manage a serious outbreak here.
The school closing will of course have a big impact on the lives of the kids at Olng’arua, especially as we provide a lot more than education. We provide meals for children whose families struggle to feed them otherwise. We provide basic medical care, such as pain killers, plasters, antiseptic, antihistamines and other simple things that families here don’t have. We also provide daily help and support to vulnerable children, such as those with disabilities, serious health conditions or at risk of violence.
The best defence against this virus is good hygiene, in particular washing hands with soap and water. None of our kids’ families have taps at home, water is carried, often from quite far, and therefore not used freely. Also, if you are struggling to feed your family, soap is a luxury. At school we have taps and soap, maintaining good hygiene at home will not be so easy.
Before the children left the school, we ran sessions to help them understand what COVID-19 is and how virus is spread. We talked about the things they can do to help protect themselves and reduce the risks to family members. Over the next few weeks we will be working hard to find ways to continue to support our children, and their families, without risking the spread of the virus. We will be diverting our resources to making sure families have soap, water and enough food for all their children. We will find ways in which we can still help with basic medical care as well assisting those more seriously ill with transport to medical facilities. If the school shut down goes on beyond the normal Easter holiday period we will also find ways to help the older children continue their studies.
Our thoughts are also with all of you, friends that are scattered all over the globe yet all facing the same problem. Never before have we all been so connected in spirit, and may that give us strength during this difficult time.