SOS Children’s Village Nyamagabe, Kayonza, Kigali, and Byumba have put in more effort in preventing the spread of COVID-19 pandemic by keeping children in their respective Villages and raising awareness about its surging in Rwanda and the world as well.
On 14th March 2020, the Government of Rwanda ordered the closing of all public and private schools, universities and higher learning institutions in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19. As of April 12th, 2020, Rwanda recorded 120 COVID-19 confirmed cases and zero death, from which 18 people have been discharged from hospital after they tested negative twice.
Speaking on phone, Village Director of SOS Children’s Village Gikongoro Mr. Lambert Rubangisa said that the village is doing all it can to keep children busy.
“To keep children busy, we encouraged them to support their SOS Mothers in their daily activities including cleaning houses, washing dishes among other activities, and we advised them to review their lessons. During the break and entertainment time, we take the opportunity to remind them to observe official guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Mr. Rubangisa Says.
He adds that SOS Mothers and caregivers have the capacity to explain clearly how to contain the spread of COVID-19.
“Handwashing and sanitizing materials are available at all main entrances. Our location is enforcing proper handwashing, social distancing and the use of sanitizers in all family houses.
Besides, children are also encouraged to stay and play indoors within the Village. The SOS Mothers and caregivers guide them,” he said stressing that all those activities are conducted in a child-friendly environment.
Nothing can stop us from caring for our children- Mutamuriza
Mutamuriza who is the social worker at SOS Children’s Village Gikongoro emphasizes that their focus is on caring for children and observing all mitigation measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Here at SOS Children’s Village Gikongoro, we are focusing on caring for children and at the same time observing mitigation measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We encourage our children, in a friendly way, to stay home and adhere with COVID-19’s preventive measures. We give them clear guidance on how to prevent the virus contamination”, she declares.
Mutamuriza added that this global pandemic affected her life as she no longer provides proper support to children. “Usually, I support children in different ways but now I am not able to interact with them directly as I used to do before. I only work with their SOS Mothers to arrange how children will interact between themselves and how they will revise their lessons but supporting children is beyond that. Like any other person, SOS Mothers are also waiting for the end of this pandemic so that their work may come to normal”, she says.
We strictly observe all national instructions to contain COVID-19
Callixte Rwabuhungu, SOS Children’s Village Byumba Director, insists that the village is following all guidance from the Ministry of Health.
“We stopped all unnecessary movements from outside our village and even casual workers are not allowed to access the village. When caregivers want to go outside, we give them all the necessary equipment including private cars, masks, and gloves. We did all that in the interest of our children.”
Kayonza Village organized poetry recitation to prevent COVID-19
Kayonza SOS Children’s Village is raising awareness through children’s poet competition. The Village Director Mbuto Jean Claude says that the aim of this competition is to increase children’s level of understanding of the pandemic.
“Their SOS mothers lead the competition and give them the marks. After working with all family houses, they will reward the winners”, Mbuto says.
Kigali Village on measures to curb the spread of the pandemic
Juliette Nyiransabimana SOS Mother at SOS Children’s Village Kigali said that they are still keeping all children busy. She added that the village organizes arts competitions for singing, writing poems and drawing, in order to make children busy during this period. “It has not been easy and we worry that this pandemic will affect the country in different ways but we are hoping for good. “
She added that even if life is going well in the village, the challenges remain rampant. “It is not easy to maintain children that were supposed to be at schools. The young ones keep on asking when this will end so that they can catch-up with the school. I also think about our future because as this pandemic is killing people in different countries and this may affect children’s sponsors.”
Juliette added that her life was changed in the past two weeks where she used to work day and night. During this period, children are trying to keep themselves busy by helping their SOS Mothers in different activities; most of them are at movies during the night due to boredom.
Rwanda has been affected by COVID-19 and started full country lockdown on March 21st. The Village Director of SOS Children’s Village Kigali Louis Ntabana said that all family houses were given allowances to buy sufficient food stock and prevent unnecessary movements.
SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda through a crisis management meeting of an extended National Management Team (NMT) convened on 16th March 2020 has put in place mitigation measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. Those measures are in line with the Government’s measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic. Such measures were endorsed by the Board Chair and apply to all SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda employees.