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Suva, March 30th, 2020 – With the ongoing restrictions and school break in place due to the Pandemic COVID-19, protection of children must be a top priority for everybody.

Save the Children Fiji’s Chief Executive Officer, Shairana Ali, reiterated that children need to feel safe and cared for at all times especially during this period of uncertainty. With the five confirmed COVID-19 cases in Fiji, it is crucial to take extra precautionary measures and adhere to Government instructions to help prevent its spread in our communities, Ali added.
Save the Children Fiji is closely monitoring the Covid-19 situation in Fiji. We know that children and women are vulnerable and their vulnerability to abuse and exploitation increases in times of crisis. Children especially, are at high risk and may face risks within their homes that will ultimately affect their physical, emotional and pyscho-social well-being.

‘It is important to know your children’s movement and be vigilant around them. Ensure that they are well informed with accurate information about the latest COVID-19 situation. Give them enough news and not more as it might overwhelm them. Be responsible with your children and be aware of who is watching them in your absence, know their circle of friends and all their planned activities. It is important for parents to establish a regular routine for children while they remain on an extended school break. Help your children to continue to learn at home and where possible, create safe supervised online engagements with their peers so they can remain connected to their friends.’, Ali said.

Children also have a part to play and a responsibility towards their safety. In trying times as such, it is normal to feel sad, worried, confused, scared or angry but you must know that you are not alone and talk to someone you trust, like your parent or a friend or ring the Child Helpline -1325 where a counsellor will assist you.

You also have a responsibility by protecting yourself and others by washing your hands frequently, always with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Be a leader in keeping yourself, your family and community healthy. Share what you learn about preventing disease with your family and friends, especially with younger children.

Model good practices such as sneezing or coughing into your elbow and washing your hands, especially for younger family members. Do not stigmatize your peers or tease anyone about being sick; remember that the virus doesn’t follow geographical boundaries, ethnicities, age or ability or gender. Tell your parents, another family member, or a caregiver if you feel sick, and at all times please stay home.

Save the Children Fiji is working closely with civil society and government partners to inform and educate communities and children to effectively prevent the spread of Covid-19. SC Fiji also recognises that some families are living on reduced income and that some families have lost their livelihood due to Covid-19. Families ability to provide adequate nutritious food to their children is being tested at the moment. ‘We have mobilised some resources to ensure that farmers in our project areas have a steady supply of seeds to sustain their crops and cater to their children’s needs. We are also working closely with partners to gather information on families and children who are facing hardship and this information will help us mobilise resources for their basic needs.’ Ms Ali concluded.