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Open Arms lock down diary- April 2020

Open Arms Infant Homes have been in lock down now since the 6th April.  As cases rise slowly in Malawi the team are following the latest medical advice and doing as much as possible to protect children and staff.

Business as usual just slightly different!

The team have worked hard to set up new processes including more hand washing, temperature checking, restrictions on access, and ensuring that they keep ahead of the latest guidance on Coronavirus and social distancing. 

Both volunteer houses and Harrogate House in Blantyre are providing temporary accommodation for staff who have volunteered to live onsite for the next three months.  

Rashid and Martin report that staff are kitted out with bedding, additional food and supplies and are happy and settled with their new routines.

Looking at the children smiling and playing around the Mangochi tree and in the Blantyre garden, you wouldn’t think there was anything unusual going on at all!

Annie Handwashing

As our lock down started, The Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) Officials carried out a monitoring visit to inspect Mangochi Infant Home for the Government of Malawi.  

They were interested in the preventative measures that had been put in place and Rashid reports that 'they were most satisfied that our infants are well protected'. 

Mangochi Care Givers Residential Working Under Lockdown

Supporting communities

Rex and Eniffer continue to work closely with the Social Welfare team to monitor advice for community services and plan their work around this.  At present we are still able to get out to the families on our outreach programme and the team are working to identify and support the most vulnerable children. 

We’d like to thank all staff involved in the lock down for their hard work and commitment to keeping our children safe and well.

Joining in with e-Learning!

Schools closed in Malawi on 16th March and the older children who were in boarding therefore moved back home to their foster families.  As you can imagine, it has been a challenging and confusing time, especially for those students due to take exams.

We were delighted when Blantyre Baptist set out their online classrooms for IGCSE and Malawi Board students so that learning can continue at home.  

As you can imagine, there have been many ups and downs and changes already but this is a first for e-learning from a Blantyre School and a huge achievement.  

We are proud to support home learning and extremely grateful to Mrs Mudzengerere and her team for the opportunity this has given some of our children. 

E Learning Chikondi Gwc I Pads

Google Classrooms take learning to a whole new level as students are responsible for securely logging in, sharing documents, saving and retrieving files as well as completing their work to the deadlines set. 

Our children are developing resilience, independence and many new skills thanks to the fact that they can continue to study at home.  The exposure to a new digital world provides an invaluable experience.

Tsekwe House E Learning Smbc Laptops3

Internet access and reliability is much slower than usual at the moment. Martin was quick to lend a hand though and set up hotspots at each house to help this.  Our family house mothers are also playing a vital role in supporting their children through these uncertain times. 

Thank you

It is fantastic to see children continue with the structure of their lessons.  We’d like to thank George Watson College for the iPads they donated and SMBC Aviation Capital for the laptops that have allowed us to make the most of the learning opportunities provided.

Life in lock down is certainly not straightforward and we are very worried about how we are going to continue to provide the funding needed to run our services over the next twelve months.  

Seeing the hard work, dedication and progress made by our team and the children in their care makes us determined to do all we can to protect this vital work.  

If you can help support our children through this difficult time please see our emergency appeal to get involved today

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