Due to the Corona virus outbreak all over the world, and consequent closure of schools & centers, our program has been greatly affected; with lots of adjustments to ensure that service delivery continues. Despite the fact that the center was closed, our programs have been ongoing and staff have been working tirelessly to ensure that the children are reached and supported in every way possible.
First of all, we started social media trainings; a Swahili Facebook page has been opened ( Sibusiso Foundation) and a whatsapp group for parents. With these pages, we are able to reach most parents, in and outside the outreach, as well as everyone else who then helps to spread the word. The Whatsapp group has more than 200 parents. Both these forums are very interactive and interesting. Therapists, teachers and social workers make various videos on different topics daily. On both forums parents ask questions regarding their children, and staff might respond immediately, or discuss it then revert it. Every village has at least one person on Whatsapp, and the rest are informed once videos have been sent, so they can make arrangements to watch them. Also, for the parents not on the Whatsapp group, follow up calls are made daily to ensure that parents are given guidance on therapy and encouraged to keep doing the same. Parents are very interested in the discussions and actively involved.
‘It is such a relief, and quite exciting to know that we can still reach out to Sibusiso through social media, and that we can still continue working together to help our children. When the center closed, we were so devasted, and we did know how it will turn out for our children, but am encouraged to know everything will go well. Thanks very much Sibusiso for never forgetting us,’ said Benjamin Abraham Urio, one of the parents.
Secondly, all is not lost for. Our children on the nutrition program have received their monthly pieces. Three pick-up points have been organized for monthly deliveries; Usa River, Shoppers Supermarket in town and Ngaramtoni. These are the most central areas for all parents. However, for any parent with special circumstances, it is delivered at home, with all safety measures observed. All parents bring their masks and the staff carry hand sanitizers. Weight measurement was done to check progress of every child before issuing nutrition.
‘What a thoughtful gesture from Sibusiso. There are many companies closed with no concern for their staff or community, but Sibusiso has indeed surprised everyone by their deep concern for their children’ said Goodluck Foya, an onlooking taxi driver at Shoppers supermarket.
Assistive devices are being delivered at home too for all the children in the outreach area. It is a difficult time for everyone but we still continue to do the best we can, to ensure that the children get the best support, as much as possible, so that they don’t retrogress.
‘It is surprising that in these times Sibusiso hasn’t forgotten about us, my child received her corner chair, and her neck control is improving,’ said mama Sara Joseph.
Plans are underway to slowly reopen, with strict measures put in place to stop the spread of the virus in the center, and hopefully, we can get back to normal soon, and continue with the programs as usual. So far, none of our children or their families have been reported sick from the virus!
Thank you all for the continued support and prayers, we are because you are!