It’s in uncertain times that we need to think about less privileged people. Covid-19 is causing fear in people across the whole world. In most countries, schools are closed now – but what does it mean for children in less developed countries?
Many countries in the Global South have very poor healthcare systems. Often, other epidemics such as AIDS or tuberculosis are already pushing them to their limits. Many experts speak of a ticking time bomb. South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa recently stated: "Never before in the history of our democracy have we been confronted with such a serious situation.”
So, how are our partners in the Global South holding up? Are all the schools closed? How do these changes impact the life of the children, parents, and teachers? We are in a lively exchange with all our partners, and their fear of what may come is noticeable. Our implementing partner in Madagascar writes: “Hopefully, the coronavirus doesn't hit Madagascar very hard. They are going into winter now and don't have adequate medical care.”
Besides the massive threat of a collapsing healthcare system, the time out of school exposes the children to potential risks, such as violence and abuse. Our project partner in the township Khayelitsha in Cape Town states: “We are incredibly nervous about what closing the schools mean for the girls, but also we have to abide by the law.” For some children, a school is not only a place of learning but also a place of safety to escape the daily hardship of poverty. A space to be a child.
Some of the construction work in our projects has been stopped or will be delayed. Prices increase, supply chains are interrupted. The responsible partner for our project in Niger reports: “Because of the pandemic, there have been increases in the price of materials in Niger as supplies are down. The contractor has encouraged us to purchase most of the cement and steel for the whole project already this week.”
In the upcoming weeks, we will try to give you frequent updates about the situation for our different partner schools around the world. Until then, we wish you all the best - stay healthy, stay at home, and think of your fellow human beings worldwide.