When the first COVID-19 case was reported in Kenya in March 2020, the government moved swiftly to curb the spread of the then little known but fatal virus. One of the measures taken was closing learning institutions.
As everyone came to terms with the disruptions, learning institutions adapted new ways of offering instructions including online learning. Moja Tu not only offered the resources to make it easier for our students but also provided foodstuffs and other essentials such as masks and hand sanitizers to enable our students and their families to adhere to the preventive measures recommended by the World Health Organization and the country’s Ministry of Health.
Sooner, it was clear to everyone that the virus was here to stay and we thus had to pick up where we had left albeit with a few adjustments that have come to be known as the new normal. Ultimately, face-to-face learning had to resume and the government of Kenya saw it wise to do a phased reopening of schools.
The first phase included the candidate class, that is, grade four, class eight, and form four students. Universities were given the prerogative to plan their reopening with many of them recalling first year and final year students.
The second phase was scheduled for January and it is here that a majority of our students fall. We interviewed one of our students, Emmanuel, who is in form three at Graceland Boys High School to get his perspective about the impending schools reopening.
“This COVID-19 period has taught me a lot of things like being optimistic in every situation no matter how bad it is, patience, and being kind to others. I have also gained skills such as how to fix damaged electronics. Since we had a lot of time on our hands, I have had to do a lot of self-reflection. This exercise enabled me to have a clear vision of my goals and outline the steps I will take to achieve them,” Emmanuel shares.
Emmanuel is understandably excited about going back to school, so much so that he tried on his uniform to see if it still fits when the announcement was made. What does he miss most about school?
“I miss physical learning and seeing my friends,” he reveals.
Since the virus is still very much around, Emmanuel is naturally scared of the risk it poses to him and his fellow students. He promises to abide by the laid down protocols.
The pandemic opened Emmanuel’s eyes to the fragility of life and to this end, he has sworn never to take anything for granted. Top of his mind is his education.
“I will work harder in school to achieve my goals which include going to university and breaking the cycle of poverty in my family and community at large. I also want to impact lives just as Moja Tu has impacted mine,” he emphatically says.
Emmanuel is very grateful for the support he received from Moja Tu.
“I send a big thank you to Moja Tu. I got my revision books which I have been using to study while at home and foodstuff that kept us going during this difficult period. The sanitizers and masks helped us to keep safe during this time,” he shares.