How our Global Youth Ambassadors are helping their communities during coronavirus crisis

Gya Coronavirus Emmanuel Lobijo Justine
Emmanuel Lobijo Justine with children from his community in South Sudan (Emmanuel Lobijo Justine)

Coronavirus and education, Global Youth Ambassadors

With education disrupted by global school closures, three of our youth activists tell us about projects to aid the marginalised and vulnerable. 

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted almost every area of life in nearly every country in the world. 

With school closures disrupting the education of 1.5 billion students, young people are feeling the strain of the health crisis. 

This week we asked three of Theirworld’s Global Youth Ambassadors – our network of young activists in more than 90 countries – to tell us about the effects of Covid-19 in their communities and what they’re doing to help.

Emmanuel Lobijo Justine from South Sudan

South Sudan has just five confirmed coronavirus cases so far and is living with a partial lockdown, affecting schools and most shops.

Emmanuel said: “The government has arranged learning from home through TV and radio – but this will be a challenge to many who can’t afford them. There is also the effect of no power, as well as low-quality and costly internet in the country.”

But as a Global Youth Ambassador, Emmanuel is helping students to continue their education. He said: “Students in my neighbourhood learn from their houses through a wireless offline internet server, that is connected to up to 150 devices. 

“In the server there is a lot of education materials for nursery, primary, high school and university, as well as extra materials like novels.”

Foeday Zinnah from Liberia

Gya Coronavirus Yard Liberia

Foeday and YARD-Inc are helping to raise awareness of the virus (YARD-Liberia)

Foeday described life in Liberia under a state of emergency.

“Due to the high economic growth, people are allowed to hustle or go for essential business from 6am to 3pm,” he said. “After 3pm everyone has to be home and the streets are taken over with army and security. 

“Schools and churches are closed for now. There is no system put in place by many schools to keep students learning or have online classes. But some institutions created an online platform to keep students learning from home. 

“As a GYA, I am engaged with community health awareness to remote villages and towns – to establish the mindset of the reality of the virus and its preventive measures to the local dwellers.”

Foeday is a member of the Youth Alliance for Rural Development in Liberia Inc. (YARD-Inc), which helps young people to stay in their communities and develop their skills. 

Preva Shomy from Bangladesh

Gya Coronavirus Shomy Hasan Chowdhury

Shomy is helping sex workers affected by Covid-19 (Shomy Hasan Chowdhury)

Shomy is helping to provide meals for sex workers affected by the coronavirus crisis in Bangladesh. After losing her mother to diarrhoea, she became an advocate for good water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) practices at schools and in marginalised communities.

In November, Their News told how Shomy takes pictures of toilets wherever she goes to help save lives.

She is also involved in Project Make Brothels in Bangladesh Safe, which provides WASH education to sex workers. In a blog for Global Citizen, Shomy described visiting one of the country’s legal “brothel-villages”. She wrote: “Lack of education and awareness placed these girls and women in the dark for generations. Some girls continue in their mothers’ footsteps and the boys grow up to be pimps.

“It is important for us as WASH activists to educate them, follow up, track long-term success and show them how it can be beneficial to them in terms of health, community and even business.”

Now Shomy and the project has launched a Covid-19 relief fund to provide food to these sex workers.

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