How Covid impacts the youth in the slums

Mentoring for Langa’s youth living in the slums

The situation in the slums is very difficult – even more in Covid times.

As one of our local NGO partners reports from Langas, Eldoret in Kenya: ” … Cases of indiscipline, drugs and substances abuse have been on the rise in the slums in the past months. Even amongst school children the negative influce due to long lockdowns where also schools were closed during the Covid-19 pandemics is very tangible. Many young adults, but also children were influenced to sell and use drugs and as a result many children performed very poorly in schools.”

Unhealthy relationships and poor decision making among the youths and children is an issue of concern. Doing something against the unsecure and depressing mental health situation is key.

Learning about COVID-19 hygiene measurements

The necessity to form mentorship clubs for youths and children in the Langas Slum

Our local Partnering NGO SOLASA has reacted on the situation and with the support of our Making More Health initiative started to change the negative setting.

“To keep the youth positively engaged and due to the need to reach many we use football games. We were able to reach out to the youth and children in order to educate and equip them with knowledge and skills that will enable them to deal with life challenges amicably and stay healthy especially during this time of Covid-19,” says Elizabeth the local NGO leader.

During the mentorship sessions, the participants exchange experiences about some of the challenges they go through. Some of them being very young:

  • Very young boys and girls disclose that they have been abused sexually or having been victims of violence.
  • They report about the abuse of alcool, even starting in the early morning to drink – what they call “Kutoa Lock” , means removing the lock what means they cannot function well without taking some drugs or alcohol.
  • The question of poverty is described as a push factor that forces young girls to sell sex for food, sanitary towels and to enable themselves to buy some basic things for themselves. Some of the young men and boys also confess to sell sex for survival, often also forced by third parties.

Informal mentorship Sessions help to talk about it

In the mentorship session the focus is on raising Self-awareness and Self-acceptance, to learn about healthy relationships as well as to inform about COVID-19 prevention measures. Also menstural hygiene and management is on the agenda. More topics will be added, among others on stages in life, decision making and being assertive, family planning for children and youth, and sexual gender based violence…)

Tutorial sessions on health during the breaks

“With this program we are able to reach over 300 children and youth through SOLASA tournament which attracted 22 teams both for boys and girls and ran for five days. Sessions are conducted during breaks and while out waiting for their turn to play. The sessions are facilitated by SOLASA social workers who are being assisted to manage the tournament by the coaches. Being a school holiday and schools being closed we are having many children participating in these activities.

„The last time three winning teams both for boys and girls were awarded with trophies and all participating teams given certificates of participation. One trophy was donated by a student from UK University of Liverpool who came to visit our organization and was very excited to see Kenyan girls playing football. She is doing a research on pollution and use of clean energy and SOLASA is helping her do this research in Langas. She learnt about SOLASA from MMH website,” explains Elizabeth.

In the past two years during our partnership with SOLASA some good basic health awareness programs and activities have taken place. And also a Health center is under construction. If you want to find out more on how Making More Health in Eldoret’s slums, please check for “Langas” in the search function.

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