When the COVID-19 virus spread around the world in mid-March, high school student leaders in Women’s Global Education Project’s Our Sisters Lead program sprung into action to support their communities. In this challenging and uncertain time, we are inspired by their commitment to helping others.
Alima, Absatou and Mouhamed appeared on a local radio broadcast on March 19th alongside two WGEP staff members and a representative from their local health department in order to educate their neighbors on proper handwashing techniques and how to avoid transmitting the virus. Thousands of residents in rural Senegal heard the broadcast, including their local mayor! The mayor sent the student leaders extra soap, hand sanitizer, and cleaning supplies to allocate to their communities, which they distributed to eight under-resourced schools. One of the school’s leaders remarked on their support: “I hear on the radio the authorities asking the populations to wash their hands, it appeals to me but we find it difficult to even afford soap regularly to wash our bodies… this is why your help is remarkable. From now on I will be the first to observe the regular washing of hands.”
Other student leaders have used the public speaking and advocacy skills they learned in the Our Sisters Lead program to volunteer with their local Red Cross committee:
Ndeye Coumba shares, "Because of the leadership program I now volunteer in my neighborhood for the Red Cross committee to fight against COVID-19. I am happy I can help during this pandemic.”
Ernestine distributes hand sanitizer and helps community members wash their hands: “During this pandemic period, I felt challenged by the Red Cross’s call to raise awareness of the coronavirus present in the world and in our country. Every morning we go to the different strategic points of the city where there are many people who pass to enter the city. From 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. passersby are asked to wash their hands with all the necessary equipment.”
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