Kenani Sora, a grade 2 student, and her family had no idea about COVID-19, like most Belanbel Internally Displaced People (IDP) community members. They were not in a position to access media outlets, nor did they receive any NGO or government assistance – not even a visit. Schools had been closed for two years, movement limited, and the IDP community completely disconnected from the rest of the world.
Dimtu, Kenani’s mother, says, “We didn’t have any information about COVID-19 and we wouldn’t have given it any attention. We were already feeling hopeless due to several other problems. The worst thing is, two organizations promised us aid and assistance to help but due to the instability, it never arrived. We worried the same thing was going to happen when imagine1day first came to include us in their plans.”
But imagine1day was there to support and provide aid to Kenani’s family and thousands of others. 2,000 soaps to facilitate proper hygiene and 50 radios loaded with educational programmed USBs were provided to IDPs in East Guji across 18 sites.
“We are using the radio imagine1day provided us for dual purposes – to take educational courses and to listen to COVID-19 updates. Every day after I finish attending the education program, we listen to COVID-19 messages with the whole family and discuss what we have heard. What is more, imagine1day helped us hang a jerrican in front of our house so that we could properly wash our hands with the soap they also provided. We don’t shake each other’s hands; we keep our distance and we leave the door open when we sit inside the house to protect ourselves from the Coronavirus, ” says Kenani.
Life at Belambel IDP is different from what it looked like before imagine1day’s intervention. The community is more responsible and aware of how best to protect itself from COVID-19.
As Dimtu says, “We are no longer lax about our life or our kids’ education. As you are witnessing, all community members have water jerricans hung in front of their houses and we are also giving our children enough time to study. We even let our kids connect with their friends so that they better understand what has been taught via radio. There is a lot of hope for our kids who couldn’t attend school for two consecutive years. I would like to thank imagine1day and UNICEF for creating such a great opportunity for our kids.”