This is Viezie Solomon a form two boy of Bagri Junction Junior High School. He has to burn charcoal to make vital funds during this season, while the schools are closed. He is scared to go back to school even if the ban on schools is lifted, due to the coronavirus.
With the schools being shut since March, children who attend Bagri Junction and other ATE supported schools have not only been missing out on their education, but also a school meal every day. School closures came at the hungriest time of the year in Lawra, the end of the lean season, where some families can struggle to eat four times a week. This often leads to pressure on all members of the family to contribute. The sheer levels of hunger and food insecurity often force the purchasing of necessary school materials to be abandoned, in a simple hierarchy of needs.
We know that Solomon has dropped out of school before for this reason. In summer 2019, through regular monitoring at Bagri Junction JHS and our Hub Evaluation, ATE discovered that Solomon had dropped out of school. ATE staff intervened, carrying out discussions with Solomon and his school, and thankfully managed to convince him to attend again. But with even more financial pressures felt by so many this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many families will need extra help to ensure their children can attend school.
Once schools reopen, we want pupils like Solomon to be able to attend on the very first day- getting their education back on track, and a daily school lunch in their stomach, like Solomon is in the picture to the left. Contributing just £20 to ATE’s Rebuild campaign can buy a ‘Back to School’ pack, where we make an individual assessment on what each child needs to be able to return to school – whether it’s new school books, a new uniform, or even some shoes. Every child has a right to attend school and gain a better future for themselves.
By Nicholas Naawe, Hub Manager, and Tara Colsell-Hawes, Operations and Projects Officer