The Covid-19 pandemic has had far-reaching and disruptive impact on virtually all sectors across the globe. Education in Kenya bore the brunt of the debilitating disease, which saw schools forced to close for over nine months in 2020.
Initially, information about the disease was scanty and the world was panicky given the high rate of spread and resultant deaths. It is no wonder, therefore, that schools were hastily closed, as were places of worship and entertainment. A nationwide night curfew was imposed, partial lockdowns put to effect, Government and private sector workers urged to work from home. The Ministry of Health led in advocacy to have everybody observe protocols, all aimed at keeping at bay the deadly invisible enemy.
In a nutshell, what followed was unprecedented. Some schools were earmarked as makeshift hospitals for Covid-19 patients, numerous jobs lost against a backdrop of financial demand soaring; not with learners at home for such a long duration. The media was rife with incidents of tenants being forcibly ejected from their houses and personal cars turned into open markets by the roadsides by some persons who had lost their jobs.
At The Jomo Kenyatta Foundation (JKF), our scholarship beneficiaries were not spared since they come from extremely humble, unprivileged backgrounds. Efforts were made to reach out to them as they were in desperate need of material and psycho-social support in the prevailing circumstances.
Tele-counselling and mentorship of all our 500 scholarship beneficiaries was given top priority At the same time, students from Nairobi and its environs were given food rations as a measure to counter the harsh reality they found themselves in.
This was not an easy undertaking as most of them could not be reached on phone. Others had moved from their known places of residence, and tracking them proved difficult.
On a positive note, these efforts finally bore fruit as 99 percent of the students were able to report back to school when they reopened. It is our sincere hope that well-wishers will consider coming aboard in support of these bright and needy students.