We have reopened, yaay!! Things have to move on, right?
After giving it so much thought, we have decided to reopen, slowly, and in phases. Although we tried our best to reach and support most of our children in different ways during this pandemic, it still can never be as enough as seeing them on their appointments or stay at the center. The reopening of the center on 15Th June has brought so much hope to parents and families!
Despite the fact that the president has declared it safe to reopen schools and other institutions, Sibusiso has still put in lots of effort to ensure that all the necessary measures are in place to keep a safe environment for the children, parents and staff; better safe than sorry!
First and foremost, the usual number of children in the three months group has been cut down from 30 to 15; only 5 children per dormitory. The social skills group is on hold till further notice, depending on how things turn out in the near future. A group of staff; social workers, teachers, assistant therapists will be staying at the center permanently for the period of one month and then change shift with another group. The group that was awaiting graduation will be given a month each (has been divided into two groups) to review and refresh their memories on what had been taught, then finalize. For new groups, the plan is to have two months each. All the staff and parents were given a training on different safety measures to be taken in fighting the virus. The training was done by social workers from the government. Following this training, it was agreed that everyone coming in, shall be screened for body temperature, and no one, absolutely no one, shall be allowed in without a mask, and washing hands at the gate. Also, the staff not staying at the center shall not be allowed any physical contact with the children, parents, or other staff, and the 1.5m rule shall be followed strictly! There will be an emergency room prepared for immediate isolation in case any symptoms appear before alerting the responsible personnel.
We are also very happy to announce that the outreach team has resumed their program! Only 5 children per team shall be visited daily as compared to the usual 10 to ensure that there is enough time for each child, and all the safety precautions are taken. The awareness campaigns in markets and villages have been put on hold for now, instead, we plan to use local radio stations and newspapers more for the same. We have received positive feedback from several radio stations, and we will sure be going on air very soon.
However, the reopening comes with a few changes in the day to day program, to ensure that much is done in a very limited amount of time. Apart from the usual daily program, we have introduced what we call The parents Support program in the evenings where in different ways, parents are able to share their experiences with one another, and bond more through different activities, games and sports; too much work without play makes Jack a dull boy!!! Weekend mornings shall focus on an intensive physiotherapy session and an economic empowerment program in the afternoons; mostly kitchen gardens and a microfinance session from one of a willing professional.
It is all looking very positive at the moment, and we hope that things lighten up a bit more with time. None of our children, or family members was reported dead from the virus and we are grateful. We live to fight another day!
Thank you very much to each of you for the intensive support and prayers during the difficult times, we could not have managed through on our own.
We are, because you are!!!!!