The Impact of Covid 19 on the Children of Poorer Families
It has been more than a year since the Covid-19 Pandemic hit us and changed everyone’s lives. The Virus, which started in 2019 in Wuhan, has now spread worldwide. It has weakened our health systems, restricted social interactions and changed the global socio-economic dynamic.
In one way or the other, Covid-19 has affected and changed our lives. But perhaps those that it has hit the hardest are Children, especially those from less fortunate backgrounds. While for most people, the only thing the Pandemic affected was them switching to work-from-home environments, children from less-fortunate backgrounds have faced far worse consequences of Covid-19.
From the closure of schools to curb the spread of Coronavirus, these children have been exposed to domestic violence and abuse, increased anxiety and stress, decreased access to health care and most importantly, lack of stable financial security.
Here are five ways in which the Pandemic has affected children from less fortunate backgrounds:
Increased Cases of Domestic Violence and Abuse
With most governments demanding the closure of schools to prevent further spread of the Coronavirus, most children were left with no other choice but to stay at home. As much as this was great news to the kids, (because really, who likes school), some of the children in less fortunate and violence-prone homes did not count on what awaited them.
Their parents, who on normal occasions would be on their jobs, and them in school, were now forced to work from home, some even getting laid off. For children with abusive parents, this meant one thing- that they were trapped with their abusers with nowhere to escape.
Over time, some NGOs tasked with protecting children from their abusive parents and guardians noted that as the cases of the Coronavirus was increasing, so were the cases of domestic-violence in homes. This later demanded an increase in the number of domestic-violence hotlines in the USA and globally.
Disruption of Education and learning
When the Virus first hit, no one thought that months later , over 188 countries will close their schools and prohibit physical learning. And when it happened, no one was prepared. Not the teachers, not the ministries of education, not the parents, and certainly not the children.
But months later, most institutions and parents had found a way to continue learning. Only problem is, this involved learning online. While this was a great solution for most students, children from less fortunate backgrounds were majorly disadvantaged.
Due to their financial constraints, they had no access to the internet or even devices to access the internet. This meant that while their fellow students continue learning as if there was no pandemic, these children missed out on all the learning.
Even now, with most countries permitting continuation of physical learning, children from less fortunate backgrounds can still feel the effects of missing out on online learning.
Decreased Access to Health Care Facilities
Before the Pandemic hit, most of the less fortunate families were already disadvantaged. Sure there were affordable diagnostic treatment services and preventive services put in place to curb the spread of diseases, but when the pandemic hit, that changed.
Suddenly all hospitals and health instructions were dedicating all their time, money and resources to treat Covid-19 patients and find the cure for the virus. For less fortunate families and their children, this meant that the special medical attention put in place for them was no longer there.
More so, because of their financial constraints, these families could not afford the required measures to prevent them from contracting the virus. Amenities like sanitizers and face masks, were too much for them to buy, leaving their children more exposed and more vulnerable to the virus.
Increased Stress and Anxiety
The Pandemic has been hard on all of us, but for children, it has been very confusing. As adults, we can understand what is happening, and can find ways to deal with our new situations. However, for children, understanding that there is a pandemic and now all their normal lives have to change can be a little too much to take in.
And for children who come from less fortunate backgrounds, with no stable guardians to guide them through what is happending and with schools closed, the Pandemic can be especially hard to deal with. As a result, these children experience increased anxiety and stress levels.
But because they come from financial contrained families, affording the required services to treat their mental disorders caused by the pandemic can be a lot to afford. This leaves them with all these unprocessed emotions that will likely haunt them for the rest of their lives.
Increased Chances of Starvation
Children with parents who struggle financially have always faced the fear of starvation one day. But with the virus, those chances have increased drastically. Most parents have been laid off and some have had their salaries reduced.
These parents can no longer afford to feed themselves, let alone their children. This means unless the children find a way to work for their own food, or even their survival, chances are, they might die of starvation.