As the COVID-19 virus swept from Asia to Europe and North America, medical experts said it was only a matter of time until Africa would report its first COVID-19 cases. On 16th March 2020, Tanzania's Minister of Health, Ummy Mwalimu, announced the first official case of COVID-19. Immediate measures taken by Prime minister Kassim Majaliwa followed. The UN reports that all primary and secondary schools, colleges and other educational institutions have been closed for one month to stop the virus from spreading. Besides this, meetings and conferences have been canceled, and, as much as possible, public buildings have been equipped with items such as sanitizers or soap to provide the possibility of proper hand hygiene.
However, "physical distancing" is a privilege. It means you can afford to stay at home. Very few people in Tanzania can. Their livelihood depends on their daily income. If they can't work, in the end there will even be no money for food and water. Apart from this, there is no statutory health insurance. Those who are infected cannot afford treatment. For many people in poor countries, the question will arise: what is worse, to be infected with a potentially deadly virus or to starve to death?
Despite this severe situation, we want to update you about the renovation of the Lemooti School, which commenced in January 2020 and can luckily continue as all children are staying at home. With the help of our implementing partner Upendo and through the donation of a private donor, the Lemooti Primary School will soon provide 8 classrooms, and two toilet blocks for about 430 children.
At the beginning of March, the rain season started, and this made construction work extremely difficult. Due to the heavy rain, trucks got stuck in the muddy roads, and the material could not quickly be delivered to the building site.
Therefore, it's impressive that half of the renovations are already finished.
Lemooti Primary School is the only Primary School of the region, and this led to the high and still increasing number of 430 children. Classrooms were always overcrowded. Building an extension to the school building through this renovatin is an essential measure to support the teachers and the schoolchildren.
We are happy how the school is developing, and once the COVID-19 crisis has been overcome, the renovated school will be open for children and will provide a quality learning environment. We want to make sure that no child willing to learn, grow, and thrive is rejected due to overcrowding.
But for now, it is essential to stop the virus from spreading. So let's hope that all protective actions can prevent an uncontrollable outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.