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Kimbondo also fights coronavirus

14 March 2020
The Social Antenna of the Congo, despite the difficulties, has decided to continue with the training classes respecting the established measures of Health. The expansion of the coronavirus exposed the lack of health resources in the face of this type of epidemic worldwide. Not even the most advanced systems, such as France or Italy, could cope with it.With all sanitation collapsed in much of Asia and Europe, Egypt announced its first COVID-19 infection and its first in Africa on February 14 of this year. A danger for a continent with such precarious health infrastructures and that could pose a global threat. So the WHO had to react quickly.
Until today, a large investment fund has been allocated, training specialists in the most vulnerable places, and initiatives have appeared by various organizations that cooperate to control the spread of the pandemic on the African continent. Other projects and initiatives have also been carried out. been affected, especially those who carry out education, development and empowerment work. This is the case of the Kimbondo Social Antenna and with which the Montblanc Foundation collaborates. It is a project that promotes the professional preparation of young girls in extreme poverty and at risk of exclusion. “One month after the suspension of the courses and without knowing when the Government was going to lift the measures taken, in the Social Antennas we were concerned about the continuation and end of the school year ”, says Nancy Khitima, coordinator of the Antennas. On March 19, 2020, the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo decreed the state of alarm before the appearance of the first cases of coronavirus in the country. Since then, all conglomerations, classes and social activities have been suspended until further notice.For the project in Kimbondo it meant leaving all the female students unoccupied for a month or more and stopping the training, since the families could not afford computers or the like. due to the scarce resources available to them, and therefore, they could not follow the classes online.
"What we were clear about is that we could not continue in that state for more than a month for fear that many would return to their initial situation before enrolling in the Antenas: girls out of school, risk of early pregnancies and no professional future," says Khitima The coordinators of the antennas did not hesitate for a second and got down to work. They immediately organized a work session with the trainers to assess the evolution of the implementation of the training programs until March 2020 and studied measures to continue and finish the school year during the pandemic, and found alternatives such as preparing weekly assignments for each subject for each course and thus make it easier for the girls to follow the syllabi from home and not be stopped for a month. "Although it is a special schedule, with few hours of classes, it allows us to advance with the program and also helps us to do useful things because during the first month of confinement, I only dedicated myself to housework, then at night I talked with the neighbors or did nothing ”, says Ruth Nzuzi, a student from the Antenas. Another idea they had was to plan a minimum schedule for the explanatory sessions, so that the girls from each course only come one day a week for two hours. Afterwards they are given homework to work at home for the rest of the week. With this, in addition, they take care of hygiene standards and distancing measures. Although there was a relative who at first was not very sure of the good functioning. “Although my sister had finally allowed her to go to school,” says another student, Sephora Mayabanza, “she was still worried. The next day, she herself accompanied me to the school to confirm that there were classes and that all necessary measures and recommended standard gestures against the pandemic were being followed. ”The organizers ensured that steps were being taken to meet the standards. At the entrance they placed a tap for both students and trainers to wash their hands. The students have to bring their own masks, respect the distances in the classrooms and the limited number of students. The organizers also secure detergents and gloves.
To start the next school year, 2020-2021, and given the uncertainty of the duration of the pandemic, the organizers have seen it necessary to plan and budget for the health measures that will be implemented to guarantee the operation of a training establishment. the difficulties, the students are very grateful for all the efforts of the coordinators who seek their training. "I thank Antena Social, as well as all the organizers who put all the necessary socioeconomic means so that we can finish this year and better prepare ourselves for serve society ”, concludes student Samira Mambombe.

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