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Understanding Children’s perspectives on COVID-19

Learners hear from children themselves their feelings and thoughts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
My name is Renad from Egypt. I’m 11 years old. My life has changed. I stopped going to school and seeing my friends and my teachers. I stopped going to my remedial classes and I no longer play in the street. The problems that I face is that I can’t go out and buy things because we are scared. Some people are infected with the virus and we don’t know how to deal with them. I enjoy my time by staying with family and we started to become closer to each other. I play with my siblings. My mother teaches me things that I can do at home and I play on the computer. My name is Mohamed from Egypt. I am 13 years old.
My life has changed since the outbreak of the coronavirus. I don’t go out I don’t see my friends and I don’t do a lot of things like I used to do before. Now, I stay at home all the time. The struggles that I face is that I no longer play sports. the clubs were open and now they are closed. And I also used to participate in a lot of activities on the community level and now this stopped as well. I used to go out a lot, play football and buy a lot of things form the stores, and all of this is no longer possible.
I enjoy my time by reading many books and learning from them a lot of things they develop my brain skills and I spend time with my cousins who are young children. I make them happy and we enjoy our times together. My name is Rahma from Egypt. I’m 13 years old. What has changed in my life is that I was living a happy life I was happy with my life. I used to go to the club and participated in tournaments at the country level and at the governorate level. I used to go to school to see my friends and my teachers and I participated in many activities with them.
Even exams, they can be scary but I was enjoying them and I waited excitedly for the results. Now, the student is only presenting a research without any exams. Even at school I would go to meet my friends and exchange knowledge and during the holiday I didn’t stay at home. I used to go to the library and practice my favourite hobby which is reading and I used to read in all fields.
The struggles that I now face is related to going out of the house. Some people are infected with the virus and they don’t say because they don’t want people to stay away from them and they don’t like it when people treat them with caution. I’m keen on wearing a mask and I sanitise my hands to protect myself and my family. I enjoy that I am now closer to my family. At first, I didn’t have much free time I went to my remedial classes school, and I went to the club. Now, I tell my problems to my family. I play with my siblings and we participate together in everything and I read in all fields which is my favourite hobby.

Children globally are adapting to the pandemic. Many children are reporting multiple difficulties related to COVID-19, including negative impacts to their mental health and well-being, lack of access to quality education and essential services, information shortages, and social isolation. Children are also finding innovative ways to navigate their daily lives and to support themselves and others in their new reality. Children are not only experts in their own lives but have the capacity to create and innovate that may not come easily or naturally to adults. Engaging children in understanding and creating solutions to challenges that they are experiencing in the different stages of the pandemic will lead to more tailored, contextualized approaches that draw on children’s strengths while addressing areas where they require support. However, too often insights from children and young people are not gathered or taken into account. Listen to the podcast and then watch this trailer for an insight into the lives of children living through COVID-19:

A pandemic through a girl’s eyes: 16 adolescent girls from nine countries film their lives under lockdown

Your Task

After listening to the video and watching the trailer for Coping with COVID-19, A pandemic through a girl’s eyes:

  • Think of one programme that you have been involved in during the COVID-19 response.
  • On a scale of 0 (No child participation) to 10 (Child-led or highly participatory), what level of child participation have you witnessed/experienced in the programme?
  • Please share your rating in the comment box below and describe your thoughts on how children have (or have not) been engaged.
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Protecting Children during COVID-19 and other Infectious Disease Outbreaks

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