COVID-19: A NIGHTMARE THAT TURNED LIFE UPSIDE DOWN
Dar es Salaam,
Mary is a young girl aged 14, a form two student living in Dar es Salaam.
Her father is a boda boda driver and her mother does pet business along the streets of Dar es salaam. Apart from her family being a low income earner. Mary feels like she is a star, she believes that one day her life and that of her family will be transformed. To achieve that she studies very hard as she considers education as her only liberty.
Since the breakout of the deadly pandemic, Corona Virus Disease in 2019 (COVID-19) most parts of the world has been smashed with great fear and misinformation. Mary is one among the misinformed children, she thinks that by just breathing and inhaling the air she can be infected.
“The first day I heard that there is a sick person in Tanzania I was terrified I cried a lot thinking we are going to die soon. At that time neither of my parents were at home, I was alone with my two siblings who cried along as I did. It was a heart breaking day for me. I waited inside until my parents returned later at night. I quickly asked them if we were going to die, my mother calmly said ‘no we won’t the disease only kills white people’! well my father on the other hand seconded her by insisting that the virus does not stay in hot weather and concluded that we will be fine”.
In Tanzania there are many people like Mary and her family, people who are filled with misinformation and for that case they are not taking any precautions. Save the children is responding by supporting governments’ efforts to raise awareness in most parts of the country. It is part of the pillar system which is led by Prime Minister as well as part of the Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) pillar where we perform various tasks including developing content for Information Education and Communication materials for mass dissemination including child friendly messages. Moreover, to support Mary Save the Children conducted a one day COVID 19 session for children and parents to educate them on the disease; ways to stay safe as well as alternative learning techniques given school closure. To address the issue of wide spreading rumors, Save the Children conducted a COVID 19 training to journalists who are information champions so as they can provide and disseminate right information to the mass.
This is a global pandemic and the virus has hit people from all countries and communities. Save the Children is calling on the government of Tanzania, donors and other actors to continue invest in health services, education and community-based strategies to ensure children and their families have the income, support and information they need. Save the Children has launched an emergency appeal to raise $30 million so we can be there for children, their families, and communities to prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. As low as $20 can support a Tanzania child to get 4 curriculum primary school books which would help a child like Mary to continue get quality basic education. This will enable Save the Children to prepare itself to play its role in the global response and comes on top of Save the Children’s response needs in-country. For donation please visit here