How two Kibera children are using comedy to pass covid-19 messages in the slum
By Judy Ndunge
The closure of schools until January next year as a result of the effects of Covid-19 pandemic has presented parents with the challenge of finding creative ways to keep their children busy.
In informal settlements such Kibera, where there is little space to play and the ever-present danger of children falling into bad company, parents are finding it particularly difficult to keep their children locked indoors the whole day.
Clarice and Jane* are two parents in Kibera who had to let their children outside but didn’t know in doing so, the young ones would join in the fight against Corona Virus in their own way.
Gatwekera area of Kibera informal settlements is a busy place, especially with children playing while others help their parents with their daily businesses. But Regan Ochieng and Milan Oduor stand out. They have made dummy cameras and a microphone out of clay. They use these gadgets they use to sensitise people about covid-19.
At nine years of age these two genius minds decided to role play as news anchors in their neighbourhood as a way of informing people about the pandemic. I follow them as they make their neighborhood interview rounds. The maturity with which they conduct their interviews is enviable. It’s not every day that you get to see children doing what these two are doing. According to the duo, what started as mimic of the covid-19 media reporting in Kenya has now turned them hand washing and safe living crusaders in their neighbourhoods. “We saw the news about Corona Virus and decided to make cameras and microphones to imitate the journalist as a game. Furthermore, our parents had already told us about Coronavirus and how to protect ourselves from it.” they added.
On March 17, former Machakos Women Representative Dr. Susan Musyoka while addressing the abrupt closure of schools urged parents to be open with their children about Coronavirus. “It’s important to talk to our children about it because they look to us for guidance and assurance. We must also tackle this problem at all levels of our society,” she said.
These two children decided to tackle covid-19 at their own level with their parents help and guidance and it proved to be helpful as their parents explained. “I am comfortable with what my child is doing because he observes the necessary precaution, I had told him about covid-19,” Clarice Milan’s mother says. “From the questions they were asking and the response people were giving them it was clear to me that people were taking them seriously,” she added.
They have gotten compliments from different people who have witnessed their tireless efforts to make known the dangers of Coronavirus. They have proved that children too have gotten their own part to play in this fight against the pandemic.