In Ethiopia, the morning of March 15 was filled with a lot of unanswered questions. Teachers couldn’t satisfy their students’ curious and endless queries.

The school administration found it hard to give guidance to its teachers. Distraught parents dashed to pick up their children as soon as the government announced its decision to close all schools until further notice due to Covid-19. Confusion, uncertainty, and fear of the virus's spread were on everyone's minds.  Children only had a couple of hours to say their goodbyes.

A few weeks passed as the government and teachers tried to figure out how to continue the teaching and learning process. Finally, it was announced that the Ministry of Education would share daily lessons over the radio and television. However, many students living in poverty missed the news, simply because they have no access to these technologies. 

After this announcement, Compassion’s project director Dejene, staff, volunteers, church leaders, and project and parent committee members went from house to house, visiting and assessing the situation of 220 children in the area who are enrolled in the Child Sponsorship Programme run by the local church.

“The goal was to evaluate how our children were doing…,” said Dejene. “We wanted to see the measures they are taking to protect themselves against the virus and how they are coping with schoolwork. We also wanted to let them know that we are still available if they need anything.”  

After assessing the children, one thing caught Dejene’s attention. “Seven students didn’t have any access to the lessons being transmitted,” said Dejene. “The number might seem small, but for me even one child with no access to education is significant.”  He was also sad to learn that some students didn’t even know lessons were being transmitted.  

Kidist, a 17-year-old girl in the programme, was one of the students. She remembers how she felt when she saw them at her doorstep. “I was incredibly happy. They asked me a lot of questions, encouraged me, and gave me a piece of paper. The paper listed radio and TV channels. I was confused.” Knowing that there was a means to help her all along and she didn’t know about it, nor could she access it, broke her heart. 

“I asked my mother to buy a radio, even knowing we were struggling for our daily food since she wasn't working anymore. I wasn’t meaning to burden her but trying my chances just in case. I then went to my friend and took her notes so I can catch up,” said Kidist.  

A few metres away from Kidist’s house lives another vibrant young girl named Yordanos. When the number of Covid-19 cases began to rise, the sixth-grader continued studying. “I was hopeful that we will be back to school within a month or so," said Yordanos. “It is when the government started transmitting radio and TV lessons that I suspected we might be home for a long time. But, I had no radio or TV. I decided to go to my friend’s house to hear the lessons, even if I’m supposed to stay at home.” 

radio-blog-body-v2-(1).jpgYordanos is learning her school work by listening to her new radio 

Every time Yordanos left for her friend’s house with her schoolbooks, she knew her mother would worry about her health. Yordanos was also starting to struggle. The inconvenience of not having the freedom to operate the TV or radio at her friend’s house, the fact that they were not always welcoming, and the fear of the virus, made it hard for her to focus.  

Dejene made it his top priority to make phone calls to seven of the students in the programme. He had a surprise for each of them—a new radio. He couldn't wait to see their reactions. “More than the provision, I wanted them to understand that they are our priority and that we care. I wanted to take away the feeling of inadequacy when they realised they couldn’t access their lessons. I wanted them to really understand that they are not alone,” he said. 

Yordanos said, “I felt hopeful for myself and others in the programme. I realised that they care so much for our progress. I vowed to work hard and make everybody proud. Now I am confidently studying and catching up with schoolwork, thanks to the radio.”  

Kidist said, “The only getaway for us out of poverty is our education. If that is compromised, our dream also vanishes. When I brought the radio home from the project, my mother was as excited as I was. I felt like there was nothing the church won’t do to help me realise my dream. I felt important.” 
 


Help Families Affected BY COVID-19

Families in poverty have no safety net in times of crisis. Help provide food, medical care and support during this pandemic.


Related posts

Sponsor gives timely gift to family of four in Bangladesh

Sponsor gives timely gift to family of four in Bangladesh

Monday, 03 August 2020 — Compassion International

The pandemic in Bangladesh has brought millions of poor families to their knees, including nine-year-old Mredula's. A timely family gift from her sponsor lifted her family out of a desperate situation.
 

Read more

Tearfund’s partner steps in to provide essentials to families after flood ravages Brazil

Tearfund’s partner steps in to provide essentials to families after flood ravages Brazil

Monday, 03 August 2020 — Compassion International

After spending weeks living in shelters due to a flood, hundreds of families from Bacabal city, Brazil, were finally able to return to their homes. However, the river waters had taken almost everything they had. Aware of the families' situation, Compassion’s child development centre distributed cleaning and hygiene kits, clothes, and mattresses to children who needed them most.
 

Read more

Tropical storm leaves families homeless amid pandemic

Tropical storm leaves families homeless amid pandemic

Wednesday, 01 July 2020 — Compassion International

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic in El Salvador, many families lost their houses in flooding and landslides when Tropical Storm Amanda hit on May 31. After being evacuated, vulnerable families were hosted inside Compassion child development centres, which provided supplies and protection from the virus.  
 

Read more

Hygiene supplies overcome water scarcity in Indonesia

Hygiene supplies overcome water scarcity in Indonesia

Wednesday, 17 June 2020 — Compassion International

Mother of three Hana walks 2km dragging a cart loaded with 17 water containers to the nearest borehole every day. Water scarcity is always challenging, increasingly so in a pandemic when handwashing is critical. Compassion's church partner provided vital hygiene supplies and education to overcome the water shortage and protect their health. 

 

Read more

Virtual Doctor Visits for Children in Need

Virtual Doctor Visits for Children in Need

Wednesday, 10 June 2020 — Compassion International

As Latin America emerges as the new epicenter of the pandemic, the health system is close to collapsing. To provide access to healthcare to vulnerable families, Tearfund’s partner, Compassion International has launched a telehealth system in Ecuador to provide medical advice over the phone from practicing doctors who are Compassion alumni.     
 

Read more

Children in poverty, Covid-19 and the global response.

Children in poverty, Covid-19 and the global response.

Monday, 08 June 2020 — Tearfund New Zealand

The impact that Covid-19 is having on the world's most vulnerable children is enormous. We simply cannot turn our backs on them. The poorest of the poor are seriously feeling the affects of this virus, causing many of them and their families to face some incredibly desperate situations.
 

Read more

Show more