A mother and her children sit in front of their house, smiling for the camera

“Food is drastically running out”: Robert and Maame’s COVID-19 Story

A mother and her children sit in front of their house, smiling for the camera
“While in school, my children were given lunch from the school feeding program, but in the months they have stayed at home, food is drastically running out.”
Maame, Ghana

Since mid-March 2020, schools have been closed in Ghana. Many children who relied on school meals to feed them throughout the day are now experiencing food insecurity as parents struggle to provide extra food for their children. As of August 2020, schools will be closed in Ghana until October 2020 where only Form 2 Senior High School (SHS) and Form 2 Junior High School (JHS) students will be allowed to return. All other years will be at home until at least January 2021.

For 14-year-old Robert and his mother Maame in Ghana, the COVID-19 pandemic has been especially challenging. With eight children at home, Maame is worried that she will eventually run out of food to feed her family. Here, she and Robert describe what life has been like for them during the pandemic.

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ROBERT: My name is Robert, I am 14 years old and in Grade 6. What I do for fun is playing football with my friends. We are all at home now and not allowed to roam like before.

A teenage boy stands next to his mother in front of their house, posing for the camera

Robert and his mother Maame are facing incredible challenges since COVID-19 hit, especially with Robert being out of school.

What I heard is that the virus spreads when you get in contact with an infected person through a handshake, coughing and sneezing. That is why schools are closed down. They said we should always wear nose masks, wash our hands with soap and stop going to people’s houses.

Honestly, I don’t like it at all the way schools have closed down. I don’t get to see my friends. Since the lockdown I have not played football and am beginning to forget what I learnt because I cannot study on my own. It is not a good feeling at all. I don’t like it.

Mealtimes have changed in my family, we don’t eat like before. Sometimes it seems like my mother is reducing the quantity of meals as she is afraid and worried. The food is different now because mother cannot do her normal work to bring more food.

MAAME: My son I know is very intelligent in school, he likes playing football and was selected to play in the school soccer team when the virus set in. He is very sad now and longing to go back.

While in school, my children were given lunch from the school feeding program, but in the months they have stayed at home, food is drastically running out. I am greatly worried about the near future.

The pandemic has created uncertainty in our lives but the success of my previous harvest is what we are currently depending on. Words cannot describe how the situation was before I got involved with CFTC. I was always thinking of what the children will eat the next day considering my large family. The situation got worse after their father died. We constantly ran out of food.

A group of people weeding and tilling soil in their farm

Maame and her children are growing their own food, thanks to support from CFTC donors, but food is running out now that school isn’t in.

Since joining the program, my yield greatly improved from five bags of rice per acre to 12, and from two bags of maize to seven. I can confidently say that the children’s welfare has improved. I am able to provide food for them to eat throughout the year, and they now have decent clothes to wear.

I pray that I can continue my farming activities, increase my farm size and take on other ventures. I am trying to educate my children the best I can so that they too will have their dreams realized. I also hope that the training and support [I received] will be adopted and practiced by other farmers as well so that there will be abundance of food in the community.

ROBERT: Thank you for supporting my mother to take good care of us!

MAAME: Yes, I would like to say a very big thank you for your support, it is my prayer that the Almighty God will keep you safe from the COVID-19.

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Families like Maame’s and Robert’s around the world are at risk of falling into severe food-insecurity because of COVID-19. While Maame still has enough of her last harvest to feed her children, her food supply is fast running out. Worldwide, COVID-19 is doubling the number of people facing severe hunger, and nearly 7 million more children are at risk of wasting, the worst form of malnutrition. Your support is more crucial than ever. Please give today to help children like Robert and his siblings have enough to eat and a chance to thrive, now and in the future. 

 
 
 
 

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