By Moleboheng Rampou
In March 2020, The Hub closed its doors to members as a precautionary measure against Covid-19. Since then, we have been working from home to produce a digital multimedia Covid-19 awareness campaign.
This campaign is reaching a large audience through platforms such as social media and radio, but we knew that many children were not being reached. We also felt concerned about Lesotho’s growing food insecurity crisis.
Skills & Soup was conceptualised as a response to these concerns. We envisioned a bi-weekly program that would host young members of The Hub and the Morija Arts Centre for fun educational activities, lessons, and a nutritious meal.
We partnered with Glasswaters Foundation and the Morija Arts Centre, then started preparing for the first session. Preparations included purchasing masks, protective gear, and a non-contact thermometer. We also constructed Tippy-Taps to ensure that the children would wash their hands before entering the premises.
The sessions are led by Thembekile Mokhosi, a professional counsellor, with the assistance of The Hub volunteers.
The children are divided into 2 groups, with 25 members in each group. In line with regulations, our sessions are held outdoors in the Morija Museum Amphitheatre.
Each Tuesday and Friday, the children have a hearty nutritious meal prepared by Cafe Mojo, and then sit in the warm sun to take part in educational sessions, while adhering to strict physical distancing protocols. So far, we have covered topics such as Covid-19 and its symptoms, misinformation about the virus, hygiene, and nutrition.
To ensure the sessions are vibrant, interesting and interactive, we have added other activities such as dance, led by Koko and a taekwondo demonstration led by Selebalo Molefe. We have also been recently joined by a local primary school teacher Thejane Malakane, who covers Maths, English, and Science with the children.
We have seen a positive response from the participants, which is evident in visible behavioural change such as wearing masks even around the village and their homes. Some have even constructed Tippy-Taps at their homes.
The children receive a take-home food parcel after every session, and have also received packets of seeds to plant vegetable gardens at home.
With the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Lesotho rising rapidly, we hope the lessons learned at these sessions will help the children protect themselves and those around them from the virus – and also help them to keep a bit up-to-date with their schooling.