Tuesday, 31 January, 2023

How minors view COVID-19 and lockdown?


By Aashish Mishra

Kathmandu, June 4: Childhood is marked by innocence, but the environment around children may not always be. Around the world, countless children have to grow up amidst wars, famines, abuses and poverty, and now, the COVID-19 pandemic.
But children have a different outlook than adults and often view situations and circumstances very differently. The Rising Nepal talked to three children from three different States of Nepal about their experiences during the lockdown and the coronavirus spreading throughout the country.
Lalita Kushwaha, Age 11, Dhanusha, State 2
Lalita is bored of the lockdown. She was really looking forward to starting school from Baisakh and being promoted to Class V. But the coronavirus epidemic closed all the educational institutions, which has made her sad. “I was so looking forward to receiving new books and a new school uniform and meeting all of my friends,” she said.
She was most ecstatic about starting to write with pens at school and had even bought two brand new ink pens. “But I don’t know when I will be able to use them now,” she lamented.
She knows that the virus is spreading rapidly and is dangerous to human health. But still, she wishes for her school to open, just so she can get a chance to use her pen. “I don’t want the schools to open permanently. I just want it to open for a few days so I can wear my new uniform, carry my new books and use my new pens. Then it can close back down again,” she said laughing, amused at her own wish and knowing that it can’t actually happen.
Arvindo Nepali, Age 9, Makwanpur, Bagmati State
Unlike Lalita, Arvindo is happy that his school is closed and wants it to stay that way for a few more months. “This is like Dashain,” he said, sharing his happiness at having this unexpected holiday, “I don’t have to wake up early and I don’t have any homework.”
But the main thing Arvindo is happy about is getting to spend time with his parents. His father works as a construction contractor and his mother works in the canteen of a school. They are often not home when he returns from school and are either sleeping or busy in the morning when he leaves. “Now, they have nowhere to go and very little to do. So, they come play with me and tell me stories and we watch TV together,” he joyfully expressed.
Sagarika Thapa, Age 16, Rupandehi, State 5
Older than the other two and living in a district that has seen a huge number of corona cases, Sagarika is more sombre. She regularly washes her hands, makes her parents and grandparents stay at home and explains to them the need for social distancing. However, she also sees how the lockdown is hurting her family’s finances and often finds herself in deep thoughts about the future.
“I would not say the lockdown is bad nor do I want it to open any time soon because of the virus,” she stated her thoughts. “But, my father’s jewellery store, which is the only source of income for our family of six, has been closed for more than two months now and I am worried about how our family will fare in the coming days.” This keeps her brooding most days.