On March 18th, 2020 our facility closed as per government instruction due to the COVID-19 outbreak and most of our students were sent back home until further notice. At that point, all we were able to do was provide them with reading materials as best we could. We were able to open the library every now and then to enable them to exchange books while ensuring their safety. We also educated them on the necessary precautions and prevention measures against COVID-19.
Some of the impacts that directly faced our projects and beneficiaries are as follows:
i. Interruption to learning for about three months due to school closure and the ban on large gatherings in order to prevent the spread
ii. Disruption in our ability to perform individual assessments
iii. Cancellation of all inter-school/inter-organization events and exams for students and the community
iv. Mental instability and stress led many students to feel hopeless about their futures, as students did not know how long they were going to be home, or when their studies would resume
V. Students and staff feared for the safety of themselves, their friends and their families.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected all our operations at Jifundishe, and to this day most of the projects are still not up to speed. We are hopeful that we will be able to cope with the changes and still be able to uphold our mission and vision as an organization.
During the pandemic, our organization responded to COVID-19 to the best of our abilities. We donated masks, hand-washing buckets, and sanitizer to the community, and educated everyone we could on the prevention of the spread. We did our best to keep them healthy, also ensuring they held a healthy diet.
After opening in July 2020, we offered counselling, continued to educate everyone on the spread and continued to use protective and preventative measures in all aspects of our establishment.
It came as a shock to both our students and staff that once we were able to reopen, the government was determined to continue business as usual and expected students to be immediately back on track with curriculum, routines and exams. This was especially difficult for our Advanced-level students, as after three months without classes, they were expected to complete their exams early that month. We did our best to get students back on track by opening the library for half-days to provide books, guidance and counselling. Everyone’s efforts paid off as their exam results for 2020 were outstanding.
Our closure made it impossible for us to provide our normal services to the community during that difficult time. Since opening, we have done our best, not only to provide our usual services and support to our students and community but also to ensure their safety and share our knowledge on the prevention of COVID19. This presents a new challenge; however, we continue to adapt and apply this knowledge to our daily lives in order to adopt better ways of living.