Since 2014 February, the KIR Foundation Community Centre has been a safe space for youth to meet up with their friends during The Thank God It’s Inspiration Friday(TGIIF) Youth Hub meetings, acquire market-relevant skills, study and read books, get connected to mentors and coaches and become inspired to be the change they want to see in their communities.
Therefore, it was heart-breaking for the KIR Foundation team and our beneficiaries, when the Centre had to close at the end of March due to COVID-19 and the youth in the neighbouring communities and beyond could not access our services because of physical distancing protocol.
According to Favour, a member of the TGIIF Youth Hub, “Not having access to the Centre has made the COVID-19 experience more difficult to deal with it”. However, on the 16th of June, we marked the annual “Day of the African Child”, with a one-day Covid-19 awareness workshop with 20 members of the TGIIF Youth Hub. There was so much excitement and love in the atmosphere and it was really difficult restraining ourselves from hugging one another as we reunited after three long months!
The event started by 12 pm with an opening speech by the Volunteer ED of KIR Foundation, Bitebo Gogo, who reminded the young people that despite the closure of schools and compulsory stay at home, this season must be maximized to reflect, learn, grow, change and take advantage of opportunities. Thereafter, the KIR Foundation team was truly inspired listening to stories of how the young people had been spending their time. The following are some of the stories from our catch up;
Churchbell Omuboye – “I’ve been learning 2D animation and Digital art. During the lockdown, I was able to create my personal YouTube channel where I post short clips of animations I create and a Facebook page where I share my digital art.”
Favour Abraham – “Since school isn’t resuming anytime soon, I decided to use my phone to apply for website design courses. I’m currently learning Basic HTML and CSS”.
Esther Felix – “I have been making facemasks for sale”.
Thereafter, there was a stakeholder session during which the KIR Foundation team gave the youth an update on the migration of some of KIR Foundation’s activities to online platforms like WhatsApp (TGIIF Youth Hub, Career Guidance and Counselling) and the KIR Foundation Blog(E-Library). However, the Digital Club members, pleaded with the team to resume physical meetings in the Centre and it was agreed that the Digital Club would restart on the 3rd of July at the Centre.
The day ended with an interactive workshop aimed at increasing awareness about COVID-19. The KIR Foundation team distributed face masks and a brochure with relevant information about COVID-19 to the youth. The brochure had a section on COVID-19 and the challenges of persons with disabilities. The youth were advised to support people in their neighbourhood, especially persons with disabilities.
A lot of Nigerians took advantage of the opportunity provided by COVID-19 to make facemasks as a means of earning extra income. However, 12-year-old Cliffbell decided to produce liquid soap with the help of his older sister. He supplies his homemade liquid soaps to shops, restaurants and neighbours. According to our emerging young entrepreneur; “I noticed that soap was quite expensive and I decided to produce liquid soap that is of good quality and affordable so that people will be able to wash their hands. I’m happy that I’m making money and atthe same time helping to stop the spread of COVID-19.”