Source: Save The Children
Over 90% of the world’s children and students have missed out on school because of coronavirus. Children everywhere have had their lives turned upside down. Right now, their future hangs in the balance.
We spoke to children in Somalia, Syria and Ethiopia to hear how they were feeling during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how it was impacting their lives and their education.
Hawo*, 13, Somalia
Hawo’s family lost everything during the 2017 drought that affected many parts of Somalia. They left their village and have since settled in a new village where they are trying to rebuild their life.
I heard about coronavirus from my teachers. They told us that they were closing the school, but I didn’t know the reason why. I asked my father, and he told me that there is a disease that affects people which they are afraid might spread in the school.
I worry a lot. I don’t know if the school will be open again and I don’t want to miss learning.
I’m so sad that I will miss school. I don’t know when we will resume so that I can continue with my education and meet my friends. This really worries me.
Now the school has been closed for about two months. They told us they will open the school three months from now.
I am also worried about my teachers. Most of them come from far places, and if the school closure continues they will leave us, and if they leave us we won’t have any teachers.
To stay safe, I am staying at home. That’s what I am doing now.
I miss my friends.
I read over my lessons so I can keep learning at home. Other than that, I don’t do much. In the village, we don’t have TV or radio.
When we’re back at school I will be happy to see my friends and my teachers.
When I grow up, I want to be a teacher. I like to teach children.
Daniel*, 10, Tijuana, Mexico
Daniel is currently living in a shelter for families on the move in Tijuana, Mexico – close to the border with the United States of America.
I feel bad because I am living and seeing lots of people that are not well, in trouble or in panic and this scares me about the virus.
It needs to be prevented now because if you wait the virus will get to countries that aren’t affected yet. They will get infected and there will be no chance to prevent it.
Washing our hands, don’t cough in front of people, cover your mouth when you sneeze and be very careful because the virus can fly, and also be very careful with what you touch. That way we will survive all of this until it is over. There is not another way.
Nassir*, 12, Ethiopia
Nassir is a 4th grade student in the Somali region in Ethiopia. His school has been closed to COVID-19.
Our teacher told us that the coronavirus is a tiny organism that we cannot see with our eyes. He also told us it spreads when sick people cough and sneeze near others. People who are sick have symptoms like cough, fever and have trouble breathing.
I wish I could go to school, but our school is closed and I feel sad and upset that I cannot go to school. I miss my friends in school.
When we were in school, I used to play games with my friends. I often think of them. Before the coronavirus, the school fed us meals each school day, but now the school feeding program has stopped. I hope it will start again soon.
Our teacher also taught us how to protect others and ourselves from the coronavirus. Some of the things we learned are to wash our hands with soap and water, wave to people instead of shaking hands and we have to stay at least one metre away from people.
We know we have to wash our hands but water is very scarce here. Therefore, it is very difficult for us to get enough water and soap to wash our hands and protect ourselves from the virus.
I am scared of coronavirus. I worry the virus could spread here in our village and hurt many people I know.
Schools are closed but the mobile reading camp still comes to our village once a week. The librarian lends us storybooks that we can take home to read. I borrow different storybooks from the reading camp. I find it fun reading stories to my family at home. It also helps me improve my reading skills.
On behalf of the children in my village, I would like to say please bring us clean water and soaps so we keep clean and protect ourselves from this virus
I wish the virus would just go away so school opens again. I want to learn and become an engineer someday, support my family.
All over the world, Save the Children is rapidly adapting our existing work whilst preparing for outbreaks of coronavirus in countries with limited capacity to respond. We’ve also launched our #SaveOurEducation campaign to tackle the global education emergency.
*Names changes to protect identity