Source: Save The Children
COVID-19 continues to have devastating consequences for children and their rights. Temporary school closures have impacted over 90% of students worldwide; never before have so many children been out of school at the same time.
We invited children from around the world to write a poem about their life under lockdown. Below are the words of children from Peru, Gaza and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) where they discuss how COVID-19 has changed their lives, their hopes and their fears.
It is a virus
by Mariam*, 14, Gaza
Mariam lives in Gaza with her family. She feels coronavirus has made the world seem like “the city of the dead”. Mariam desperately hopes to return to school and see her loved ones.
It is a virus that made the world like the city of the dead
After we were playing with friends, the streets became empty.
We used go to a school to gain knowledge with my classmates.
But now we are sitting in our homes on our own
It is a virus that has deprived us from work and from the family’s livelihood
A virus that if it infects a person, it weakens his strength
He would be deprived of seeing his family, loved ones and friends
His immunity fades if he cannot fight it
Ramadan came and we could not go to the mosques
Ramadan that’s full of generosity comes without us being able to go to the mosques
We hope this pandemic will end and return to our lives
We return to our school, mosque, and work and see our loved ones
Eid will come and we will pray the Eid prayer in the mosque and see our loved ones.
by Gradi*, 14, DRC
Gradi lives in the capital city, Kinshasa, with his family. He says the pandemic has wreaked havoc and they call the fight against coronavirus a “war”. He is most scared that he or his family might catch the virus but says “What I’d say to other children is that the coronavirus mustn’t scare us, we have to fight it.”
Once, we used to live well.
Meeting with my loved ones,
our families and my friends.
Today, we are forced to remain confined to our home.
No schools, no churches, no meetings.
Everyone is obliged to wear a mask and respect the prevention tips in order to fight against this disease which is called coronavirus.
A virus that must unite us
by Estefany*, 15, Peru
Estefany lives with her mother, brother and extended family in Huanuco, a city in central Peru. The Peruvian government declared a state of emergency and imposed one of the world’s strictest lockdowns. Estefany has been out of school since March and is missing her graduation.
Before: outings, friends, the movies, parties, dreams and goals.
Today: frustration, confinement, helplessness.
One day, you go out and enjoy what the streets can offer.
On the next, they ask you to stay home “for your own sake”.
The reason: a virus no one can see, but that has definitely made us feel so many things.
The days pass.
They pass like the news, each time sadder and more worrying.
Some say: “look at the bright side: time to reflect, time to share with your family; time for everything’.
Some of us find that difficult to understand.
We say “my goals, my dreams, school, graduation…”
here we have to put our resilience to the test.
I dream that we will get out of this
I dream that you will stop your indifference.
Without a doubt, social poverty is what invades us
and intellectual poverty what sinks us.
Oh, what helplessness I feel
This helplessness, this crisis, this pandemic, is strong
But we will be even stronger if we unite.
We have thousands of infected
Thousands, like the will to keep fighting on.
Thousands, like the hope of getting out of this
Brother, join me, give me your hand and let’s face this
Because together we are stronger.
Around the world, Save the Children is rapidly adapting existing work whilst supporting countries with limited capacity to respond to coronavirus. Millions of children like Estefany, Mariam and Gradi can’t wait to return to school, see their friends and continue their education. We have launched our #SaveOurEducation campaign to tackle the global education emergency.
*Names changes to protect identity