Ensuring that no one is left behind in the corona crisis
The challenges of home-schooling in Corona times are enormous, even in developed nations like Germany. In developing countries, the situation is even dire – after schools closed down suddenly, countless children were left without any education options during lockdown. The limitations of public life during the current pandemic pose a very serious threat to the lives of many people. CBM and its partners are responding to these threats – loss of livelihood, further impoverishment, and even death.
The situation is further exacerbated for children from poor families - school closures imply not just a loss of education, but it also leads to hunger. For many children, school meals are the only meal of the day.
This also applies to the students of the German Church School in Ethiopia, which is funded by CBM. In addition to worksheets and homework the school is currently also providing meals to its pupils, especially to children from very poor families and children with disabilities.
Education and food for Dagmawi
Many countries are trying to provide education through radio and television education programmes. In Ethiopia, however, less than half the population has a radio, let alone a computer or internet access - like 12-year-old Dagmawi, a student at the German Church School in Addis Ababa. For her and her siblings, the loss of school meals weighs much more heavily than the loss of education. Until recently, her father laboriously provided for his family of five by earning money as a cobbler. With the announcement of a strict lockdown, he started losing his daily income.
Sometimes all I can do is just sit here and worry about what to feed my children in the evening.Dagmawi's father
To support families like Dagmawi’s, the staff of the German Church School now regularly provides basic food such as flour and cooking oil to parents. Children receive homework and continue their education at home. Some receive the learning material via their smartphone. For those without access to the internet, the teachers provide worksheets along with food packages to the parents.
Dagmawi is also benefitting from this set-up. Her teachers regularly call her to ask how she is doing and how she is coping with her homework. She is very happy every time she talks to her teachers.
The German Church School has also had to be innovative during the pandemic – texts in Braille and audio CDs are provided to students with visual impairments, and children with physical disabilities who previously received physiotherapy at school also receive exercises on a CD. This helps them to train their motor skills.