The coronavirus lockdown that has been imposed in Ghana has forced a Greek boarding school to temporarily close its doors.
The Preparatory School of Saint Nicholas, which opened its doors in February of 2012, offers hope and opportunity for hundreds of kids.
The boarding school that was founded by Captain Alkiviadis Kapas and his Philhellene friend Deborah Eleazar is located in the port town of Tema New Town, close to Ghana’s capital city of Accra.
Eleazar says that since the school closed, life for the pupils, who were also fed at the premises, has become very difficult. “There is real hunger,” she tells Greek Reporter. She adds that volunteers started an initiative to raise funds in order to give each family of the children that go to our school, a food parcel which should last about one week.
The interview with Eleazar:
How is the situation with Covid at Tema and the school’s surrounding area?
Ghana has been in a lockdown situation for over three weeks and it is slowly being lifted. There are approximately 2000 confirmed cases of Covid-19, roughly 200 have recovered and 17 deaths. There is a possibility that this is not accurate as many deaths are recorded for different reasons. The situation in Tema and particularly in the area where our children live is very difficult. Main reason is they live a hand to mouth experience , with no means to purchase food or even store food. Also very difficult to keep social distance, so there is real hunger.
How is Ghana coping with Covid? When did your school close?
Our school closed down over three weeks ago. Initially, the teachers were teaching whenever children were in their neighborhood. However, then the authorities stopped any gathering whatsoever. Ghana seems to be coping well and they have even found a means of testing for the virus and also an antibodies test. They have yet to be recognized as such. All visitors arriving in the last three weeks had to be out isolated in hotels at the government expense. Limited assistance has been given out but it has not reached our area. Unfortunately, in the rural areas, nobody really knows what’s going on and authorities have not explained to them properly and villages just carry on as normal.
Did you have any kids infected?
So far we have not had any children or their families infected
What action(s) has the school taken for the kids during this time?
Initially, when the school closed, we arranged a distribution of whatever food we had to the staff with a request that they also try and help the families in the area. The headmaster has kept in touch with all the teachers and some of the teachers who had credit on their phones were able to report what the situation was in their neighborhood. The majority of people had problems in that credit in their pay-as-you-go mobile phones had expired and so they were unable to keep in touch.
A Greek lady Maria Asmarianaki who works in Ghana and teaches our children at weekends Greek, has started an initiative to raise funds to give each family of the children that go to our school, a food parcel which should last about one week. This has been supported by another NGO “Enhancing Learning and Play in Ghana” who are hoping to open up after-school classes and summer camps which would help the community.
What you need raising money for and how could somebody help?
We are hoping that the school will soon re-open and we hope to be able to raise funds in the near future. We hope to be able to help the community get back on its feet and handout food to the community as none of the guardians or parents have been able to work during this period. We are sure that we will also have a number of health issues of either malnourished children or illness but have not been able to be taken care of during lockdown.
If you would like to help the children of Saint Nicholas School, you can donate at the school’s website here.
Watch our short doc about this amazing school: