Our attempt at promoting continued learning for children from low-income households during the COVID-19 lockdown was met with parents voicing their food situation. Many of the parents of our students stated they were at the verge of starvation. Hunger affects our ability to concentrate and understand as humans, how much more children? We needed to play our part to ensure we supported our student families prior to talking about continued education. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory by Abraham Maslow, which puts forward that people are motivated by five basic categories of needs: physiological, safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization. It gives us a useful reminder that people can only pay attention to higher needs like education when their most basic needs (food, shelter, safety) are being met first.
How do you talk to parents about education programs during a pandemic when their children are starving? Parents wake up every morning knowing that they do not have any food for their children and they do not have any money to buy food. With their source of income (mostly daily) gone, due to the lockdown, how do you even start a conversation? I had to do something.
SEED C.A.R.E.S. (COVID-19 Advocacy, Relief, Empowerment & Support) is providing a holistic approach to challenges facing children during the COVID-19 pandemic working from an education ecosystem perspective. As schools have no choice but to work remotely, we know that a hungry child cannot learn. Hence, we will be providing aid (food, health & education) for the most vulnerable student families of the schools we support in the six (6) Education Districts of Lagos State.
All the money raised will be used to buy food for student families, sensitize the parents on keeping safe & healthy and to provide Radios + Batteries so they can access the free radio education programs provided by the Lagos State Ministry of Education.
We will identify one hundred (100) extremely poor, vulnerable and food insecure families. We will work with the leadership and teachers of our schools to identify students who prior to the school closures were in this category (i.e. mostly came to class hungry and without/very little school lunch).
An outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus was first detected in China in December 2019 and has now been detected in most countries. The coronavirus disease 2019, named COVID-19 (CDC 2020) was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 11 March 2020 (WHO 11/03/2020). Globally, governments are responding to the pandemic with measures aimed at mitigating the spread of COVID-19, restricting movements and the conduct of business.
As we plan to provide the extremely poor, vulnerable and food insecure families with food aid, we believe that this will enable the families to commit to education for their children as their basic needs have been met. We cannot afford the education gap to be widened. Nigeria is already in a bad state with the largest number of extremely poor people in the world, has the highest number of out-of-school children in the world (13.2 million) and 4 out of 5 persons aged 15-24 are unable to read a full sentence.