Corona in Namibia

I asked Sue, who helps me keep up to date on our alumni, for feedback on how our learners are being impacted.

Some interesting observations. First, distance learning only works if you can get access to internet. It is very costly there and most families do not have the extra money.

The government payout of N$750 is equal to $43USD–and this was a one-time payout.

Many families do not have running water in their homes–or do not have money to pay. Water meters in the township are pre-paid, so when your credit is out, the water is cutoff.

It is good to see how active Rotary clubs are in the area. That seems to be a big benefit.

 

Feedback from Melitha Hashiyana – Grade 11

Dear Madam

The schools are expected to open on the third of June 2020 for the grade 11’s and 12’s. The other grades will start later.

The COVID19 pandemic has caused a great sense of fear amongst my family and community members, but there definitely are some advantages that came along with the virus. The lockdown period gave family members a chance to spend more time with each other and bond. We are really hopeful for a positive outcome for Namibia because the country managed the situation really decisively and maturely.

Namib High School has taken some initiative towards  making sure that we do not miss out on any school work. We have been using Edmodo, Google Classroom, Zoom and WhatsApp as platforms to continue with schoolwork. We have managed to get quite a lot of work done. The teachers are very helpful and are trying their best to make sure we understand the work.

Yours sincerely

Melitha Hashiyana

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Feedback from Rosalia Alfeus – Grade 11

The Covid 19 pandemic has caused a lot of problems across the world from unemployment to education. In my community, a lot of people have lost their jobs and now rely on assistance from the government (Sue’s note: The Namibian government provided an emergency income grant – a once off payment of N$ 750 to employees who lost their jobs during the pandemic in the formal and informal sectors. The N$750 is based on a poverty line of approximately N$250 per week.)

My dad was unemployed before the pandemic and my mom was the breadwinner. My mom also lost her job due to the pandemic.  Luckily, we receive a weekly donation of food through Rotary, Swakopmund.

Teaching and learning has continued during these troubled times.  Teachers decided to use e-learning as a mode of teaching.  We use apps such as Whatsapp and Zoom to communicate with our teachers.  Edmodo is another app where we receive weekly tests and assignments.

MYO’s library and computer lab is also always open for us to access information.

The only problem we face is having to buy data in order to access the Internet.

Rosalea Alfeus

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Feedback from Mbatoo Katiuonga – Grade 11

My family, my community and I have all been affected negatively and positively by the global pandemic.

The negative impacts are that my parents didn’t receive their monthly income as usual which led to a shortage of food, especially towards the end of the two months, but family members supported us.

We were still exposed to the risk of contracting the virus as people didn’t really follow the issued instructions.  My dad started showing symptoms, but he tested negative.

The pandemic has killed hundreds of thousands in the world  and the fear of losing family members is all you hear about in my community.  The lack of food has become a serious problem as many of the community members were without jobs before the lockdown.  People who do not have taps at home have to walk a long distance to reach a public tap to wash their hands and each time they do this, they are exposing themselves to greater risk of getting the virus.

Namib High School made a way for its students to continue studying even though the schools were shut down.  We used WhatsApp to communicate with our teachers daily (Monday to Friday).  They sent videos and messages explaining the work and then there were exercises to be done.

I am living in fear that school may not re-open on 3 June due to the cases that have been increasing in the past few days. Not all parents have access to money at this time and children suffer because parents have to provide food, pay water bills and they have the expense of providing e-learning.  If they can’t afford to pay for data, this delays the child’s school work.

Positively, it has brought families in the community together.  Parents, who used to drink, no longer drink and are even thinking of quitting drinking. Domestic violence and child abuse have also decreased, mainly because of the reduced drinking.

Mbatoo Katjiuonga – Grade 11

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Feedback from Rose-Mary Johannes – Grade 9

Due to the COVID 19 outbreak, my family was one of the families affected. Our small kiosk (tuck shop) was forced by the municipality to stop operating and this caused a big problem since we depend on the income from the kiosk for our survival.

My father was one of the workers sent home because of lockdown and this led to a lot of arguments and violence.

Food was not a big issue since we received weekly food parcels from Rotary, Swakopmund. However, we are a large family, so it was not always enough for all of us.

The news that schools were forced to close caused mixed emotions. We were happy that we didn’t have to go to school, but we were also worried about what would happen to our education.  Our government came up with online studying but not a lot of kids have access to the Internet at home, since we live in an informal settlement area.  Our school came up with booklets of work to keep us busy, but this also required Internet access.   My Science subjects were the most difficult.  Both my sister and I have to use my mother’s phone and this created confusion and conflict, as she too needed to communicate with her teachers.

The Government has decided to re-open schools on 6th July for ninth graders.  This is to ensure that we do not fall behind and it is a way of showing us that all will be well into the future…

I will be so happy to go back to school, but, on the other hand, the number of Coronavirus cases continues to rise in many African countries.

I really hope Corona virus comes to an end so that everything can return to normal.

Rose-Mary Johannes – Grade 9

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 Feedback from Sophia Iiyambo – Grade 9

COVID 19 AND ME

It came as a shock to me, because I wasn’t expecting all of this. When I first heard of COVID 19, it wasn’t in Namibia and so I was not that concerned.

I was very disappointed that we could not go to school as there was an event coming up that I was really excited about.

My mom could not go to work as she is a domestic worker and my dad had to stay home during the first stage of the countrywide lockdown.

We had to stay home all day long and we could not even go outside unless it was to buy something essential.

Luckily there were food donations that MYO organized through a Rotary project and that kept us going throughout the weeks.

I became bored quickly and kept re-reading old reading books and going through my note books.

Luckily, our teachers started teaching via online learning on Whatsapp.  We had a group for every subject but the only problem was that my parents had to have data on their phone so that I could learn. They always had to spend N$ 30 to buy data and that couldn’t happen often.

I am so happy that school is finally re-opening on 06 July for the Grade 9’s.  I really hope that everyone passes through this difficult time safely.

Sophia Iiyambo – Grade 9

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Response from Annelize Januarie – Grade 9

The pandemic has struck us all at different angles, but this letter is to share how our government and schools have reacted immediately.  According to the timetable that was set up by the Ministry of Education, schools for the Grade 9 learners will re-open on Monday 6 July 2020.  Until then, we are educated through e-learning.  My school, Namib High School has used the social platforms WhatsApp and Telegram to keep us op to date on school work.  Every weekday I sit sown between 6.00pm and 8.00pm and catch up with the day’s work.  The reason I do my work at this time if because the house is quieter and I have completed my household chores by then.

Whenever I face any difficulties in answering questions, I always use my notebooks, textbooks or I do research on Google, but sometimes I do need my teacher, physical, because that way, I believe, is more effective.

Annelize Januarie – Grade 9

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Rob, thhis should give you insight into what they had to deal with and how they coped.

Regards

Sue

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