Coronavirus is claiming lives and affecting livelihoods as health systems buckle, education is disrupted and families struggle to stay afloat. Disruptions to society have had a heavy impact on children especially on their safety, their well-being and their future.
Worphan Orphanage centre in Lower Gweru which is home to twenty-five children below 18 years, is facing hard times as donor support has dwindled from both in and outside the country.
Esther Chindozi, the Administrator at the centre said they are in dire need of food supplies to cater for the children.
“At the present moment, 18 children, 15 of them are of school-going age and 3 minors. We are giving them shelter, food, paying school fees and all the basics a child may need. Our most immediate needs range from food supplies as well as sanitary wear for the 10 teenage girls in our institution. We would appreciate even the re-usable sanitary pads so that the girls can use them for a longer period. We have been financially crippled by the Covid19 situation as we used to get donations from churches which are currently closed in line with the lockdown.”
Chindozi said Vungu Rural District Council has been supportive over the years and the institution was allocated 9 hectares of land to support their agricultural needs.
“Though we have nine hectares of land, it’s unfortunate that we are failing to produce our own vegetables in the winter season because we do not have a borehole. We are appealing to well-wishers to assist us to drill a borehole so that our agricultural activities become sustainable.”
A villager head in the area, Mcebisi Velasi hailed the work being done by the orphanage to protect children from extreme vulnerabilities.
“We are proud of the service being offered by Worphan Orphanage because many children in this area are eloping and there are rampant child marriages due to lack of social care. Most families are child-headed as parents are seeking greener pastures in our neighbouring countries.”
Child Protection Specialist and Midlands State University Law lecturer, Loveness Mapuwa said as parents worldwide struggle to maintain their livelihoods, governments must scale up social protection measures, programmes and policies that connect families to life-saving income, health care, nutrition and education.
“The covid19 pandemic is impacting badly on children who are the next generation. Social protection that includes cash transfers and support for food and nutrition must be extended to vulnerable children.”
The number of children living in multidimensional poverty has soared to approximately 1.2 billion due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new UNICEF and Save the Children analysis of 2021. This is a 15 per cent increase in the number of children living in deprivation in low- and middle-income countries.
The report notes that child poverty is much more than a monetary value. Although measures of monetary poverty such as household income are important, they provide only a partial view of the plight of children living in poverty. To understand the full extent of child poverty, all potential deprivations must be analyzed directly. This also points to the need to implement multi-sectoral policies addressing health, education, nutrition, water and sanitation and housing deprivations to end multidimensional poverty.
(Story support granted by Women In News (wan-ifra.org )