With the ongoing restrictions and school break in place due to the Pandemic COVID-19, protection of children must be a top priority for everybody. 

Save the Children Fiji’s Chief Executive
Officer, Shairana Ali, reiterated that children need to feel safe and cared for
at all times especially during this period of uncertainty. With the five
confirmed COVID-19 cases in Fiji, it is crucial to take extra precautionary
measures and adhere to Government instructions to help prevent its spread in
our communities, Ali added. 

Save the Children Fiji is closely monitoring the
Covid-19 situation in Fiji. We know that children and women are vulnerable and
their vulnerability to abuse and exploitation increases in times of crisis.
Children especially, are at high risk and may face risks within their homes
that will ultimately affect their physical, emotional and pyscho-social
well-being. 

‘It is important to know your children’s
movement and be vigilant around them. Ensure that they are well informed with
accurate information about the latest COVID-19 situation. Give them enough news
and not more as it might overwhelm them. Be responsible with your children and
be aware of who is watching them in your absence, know their circle of friends
and all their planned activities. It is important for parents to establish a
regular routine for children while they remain on an extended school break.
Help your children to continue to learn at home and where possible, create safe
supervised online engagements with their peers so they can remain connected to
their friends.’, Ali said.  

Children also have a part to play and a
responsibility towards their safety. In trying times as such, it is normal to feel sad, worried, confused, scared or angry but you must
know that you are not alone and talk to someone you trust, like your parent or
a friend or ring the Child Helpline -1325 where a counsellor will assist you.

You also have a responsibility by
protecting yourself and others by washing your hands frequently, always with
soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Be a leader in keeping yourself, your
family and community healthy. Share what you learn about preventing disease
with your family and friends, especially with younger children. 

Model good practices such as
sneezing or coughing into your elbow and washing your hands, especially for
younger family members. Do not stigmatize your peers or tease anyone about
being sick; remember that the virus doesn’t follow geographical boundaries,
ethnicities, age or ability or gender. Tell your parents, another family
member, or a caregiver if you feel sick, and at all times please stay
home. 

Save the Children Fiji is working
closely with civil society and government partners to inform and educate
communities and children to effectively prevent the spread of Covid-19. SC Fiji
also recognises that some families are living on reduced income and that some
families have lost their livelihood due to Covid-19. Families ability to
provide adequate nutritious food to their children is being tested at the
moment. ‘We have mobilised some resources to ensure that farmers in our project
areas have a steady supply of seeds to sustain their crops and cater to their
children’s needs. We are also working closely with partners to gather
information on families and children who are facing hardship and this
information will help us mobilise resources for their basic needs.’ Ms Ali
concluded. 

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