RUTH MWINGA PERSONAL STORY ON COVID 19.

I currently work for Macheo children’s organization on the Join for Joy Program., I have enjoyed seeing children being able to express themselves freely while playing, their talents being identified and nurtured at an early age. In addition, through Join for Joy, I have not only trained them in games but also helped the children develop their lives positively through life skills and hygiene trainings.

However, with the whole world almost at a standstill over the rapid spread of Coronavirus, life has not been the same for many families and children in Kenya. The Corona-virus has made new terms like social distancing and self-isolation common, and enveloped communities around the world in fear. While the schools are shut down, many children are missing out on some of the most valuable moments of their young lives like their daily games and sports activities. Most parents are casual labourers and therefore currently lack jobs, which make them unable to put food on the tables for their children. Everyone is feeling anxious about how to navigate this rapidly evolving situation. Many families live without a social safety net, and nothing shakes their already unstable situation more than the Coronacrisis. Covid-19 has really taken us to retirement rehearsal, irrespective of age because of the stay-at-home order, lock down curfew and cessation. Yet, while living in these uncertain days, possibly the big question would be; how do you get people – especially children – to take personal hygiene seriously in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic?

Even when the students of the schools that are part of our program face unprecedented difficulties and uncharted paths, Join for Joy is rising up to make a difference. As part of our effort to make sure that our children are protected, we have played a critical role in an attempt to beat the virus. First, Join for Joy has created an impact on children through the trainings on hygiene and assertiveness. Children are turning to fun, catchy songs to promote practices such as social distancing and proper hand washing. For instance the “save space game” has enabled children to be assertive and maintain social distance while observing the set guidelines by the government of Kenya. The songs also urge the children not to panic, to wash their hands and continue fighting until the disease is eventually conquered. In partnership with Macheo, we distributed handouts to 80 families living in the Kiandutu slums. The handouts contained preventive information on the fight against the Corona-virus. The families have been empowered with accurate and timely information about coronavirus thus reducing the possibility of infections in areas of our work.

When it comes to a mass crisis, you need to reach a mass audience. We are further making waves through social media advocating for preventive measures for the Coronavirus. Our head teachers from different schools in sports and games program, have continued to create awareness on measures toward fighting the Corona-virus through WhatsApp groups.

I am inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy that we are the change we want see in this world. I also believe that change starts with me! I have also taken a personal initiative to empower children and families around where I reside by training them on safety precaution against the corona pandemic. I strongly believe that we will get through this crisis. And when we do, I am sure that history will be written in that we helped to bridge the world from fear to hope and from confusion to understanding. We will continue to work together aiming for saving lives and serving humanity!