Save the Children’s Emergency Fund has installed clean water and wash facilities at schools in Zambia so that children like Mutinta can safely return to school during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Mutinta is among the 4.5 million children across the country who were sent home on 20th March when schools closed as one of the early prevention measures government undertook to manage the pandemic.

When Mutinta’s school closed because of coronavirus, it didn’t just mean that she and her classmates would miss out on vital education, they also missed out on nutritious school lunches provided by Save the Children through their school feeding programme. Mutinta’s family have struggled to grow food and earn a living over the past year as a lack of rain caused drought across Zambia. The lack of access to clean drinking water from the drought has further exasperated the situation and her family is under even more pressure to survive.

Photo Credits: Malama Mwila, Save the Children

Save the Children’s Emergency Fund provided ‘take home’ food packs for families like Mutinta’s in rural Zambia, so they could continue to receive nourishing food while schools were closed. Now with schools reopening, Save the Children is providing hand washing facilities for schools and child friendly information materials (posters and community radio) to raise awareness to help children and families protect themselves from coronavirus.

Mutinta is really happy to be back at school, but she also shines a light on the impacts of coronavirus and school closures on other children. Some of her friends have been forced into early marriage, while others have had to move away, and can no longer attend school.

Mutinta said: “During the period when schools had closed some girls got married like my friend who got married but was called back to school by the headmaster.”

I am happy that they have opened schools, although others are afraid to come back to school due to the virus. I want to be a nurse when I grow up so that I can help take care of the sick such as those who are suffering from cancer and HIV. Some people have died from these diseases in my family. - Mutinta

Photo Credits: Malama Mwila, Save the Children

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