Stories: A Zimbabwean girl’s story during COVID-19 induced school break - Harare, Zimbabwe
This story was collected as part of INEE's 20th Anniversary commemoration to highlight how education in the midst of crisis and upheaval has made a difference for our members and those they work with (learners, youth, teachers, caregivers, etc.). For more stories, click here.
A Zimbabwean girl’s story during COVID-19 induced school break
Name: Memory Mandikiana
Organization: Jesuit Refugee Service
Location: Harare, Zimbabwe
When you hear ‘education in emergencies’, most people visualize learning in the aftermath of floods, war, displacement and other catastrophes. My story is somewhat different. I have always loved school holidays: spending time with family and going on road trips. The extra hours to sleep are a bonus to my budding body, and I also get to watch my favourite shows and movies on television. Holiday times are used to catch up with friends that I met in primary school, as we can video call each other.
This time around, tables have turned. The devilish COVID-19 pandemic cut off our school term, making us to leave school indefinitely on the 24 th of March, 2020. A few days later, the government announced a lockdown, which has been endemic and restricted movement. At first I rejoiced at the sound of a long holiday, but it turns out that my life has come to a complete halt.
The thought of being at home with my parents for a lengthy period of time haunts me now. Get me right, I love them, but they are not my age, and I am an only child. I miss my friends, school mates, teachers, learning with others and just being surrounded by peers. I also seem to have forgotten the greatest chunk of what I learnt at school. There is a yawning gap. Who or what can save us from COVID-19? Yes, my parents pay for private online classes, but it does not feel the same. Some of my friends are now pregnant, while others are abusing drugs. I wish for schools to re-open, but I also care about our safety. The government should do something to provide us with education and to protect our future.
The views expressed in this blog are the author's own.