Like most of the world, Kenya put in place restrictions to minimize the spread of COVID in March. Today, most schools and all children’s centers remain closed. Gatherings of more than 15 people are banned. Masks are required. People are encouraged to stay home when possible and socially distance when out and about. A nightly curfew is in place from 10 PM to 4 AM. Some of the high schools and colleges that our scholarship students attend reopened in November. It is hoped that all schools can reopen in January, although that is not certain.
In response to the current climate, SAS Children’s Centre Director Emily Mwangi and her team have pivoted to create an outreach program for the SAS children and families. The goal is to continue to provide educational, emotional, and social supports for our children during this challenging time. This includes:
- Learning materials – All SAS children took home academic learning material, textbooks, and notebooks to continue their studies at home.
- Life skills training for our teenagers
- Teenage boys
- Many of the older boys have taken on income-generating activities to help support their families.
- They are proud to be able to help their families if only a little.
- Staff is monitoring them to ensure their jobs don’t affect their studies.
- Teenage girls
- Many are expected to help with household duties and childcare while at home.
- Life skills teaching continues, including secretarial, computer and personal finance skills.
- Teenage boys
- Emotional support
- Regular phone calls and visits – SAS Management regularly reaches out to the children, guardians, and their families through phone calls and personal visits to ensure children are safe and feel emotionally supported.
- Invitations to the Children’s Centre – Every other month, the staff invites two children to stay at the SAS Children’s Centre. In September, 9-year-old Pauline and 20-year-old University student Simon stayed at the Centre. Simon was particularly excited to have access to the internet so he could do his University work.
- Money for food and essentials for struggling families – Most families have been able to accommodate the extra childcare burden. SAS staff has provided additional monetary support when necessary.
Thanks to the many people that support the SAS Foundation, we continue our work to provide these children the education and supports they need.