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Young Boy Spearheads COVID-19 Fight to Save His Community

 

By Irene Sinoya, World Vision Communications Specialist, Kenya

Raphael, aged 14 years, is determined to stop the spread of COVID-19 in his family and community at Matete in Kakamega County, Kenya.

Since the first case was reported in the country, he has been burning the mid-night oil to ensure that his family and fellow children in the community are adhering to the measures put in place by the Ministry of Health to curb the spread of the virus in the country.

Raphael, aged 14, is sensitising his community on COVID-19 prevention. ©World Vision Photo/Irene Sinoya.
Raphael, aged 14, is sensitising his community on COVID-19 prevention. ©World Vision Photo/Irene Sinoya.

 

“I heard of the coronavirus disease from my teacher before schools were closed due to COVID-19. Knowing that the virus was deadly made me worried,” says Raphael who is a Form One student in Marukusi secondary School in Kakamega County, Kenya.

But with training from World Vision, through a Community Based Organisation known as Chelwa, Raphael was able to get in-depth knowledge about the virus and how it can be prevented.

“I could not wait to share the message with my family and friends”, he says.

Raphael (right) teaches his brother how to effectively wash hands with soap to prevent COVID-19 and other disease. ©World Vision Photo/Irene Sinoya.
Raphael (right) teaches his brother how to effectively wash hands with soap to prevent COVID-19 and other disease. ©World Vision Photo/Irene Sinoya.

 

Raphael began by training all his siblings to wash their hands properly with clean water and soap.

He has strategically placed a hand washing facility at the entrance of their home for ease of access and use by his family and visitors.

Raphael with his grandmother and siblings displaying their clean hands after learning how to wash them well with soap and water. ©World Vision Photo/Irene Sinoya.
Raphael with his grandmother and siblings displaying their clean hands after learning how to wash them well with soap and water. ©World Vision Photo/Irene Sinoya.

 

Raphael’s mother, Margaret, describes his son as zealous. She says that the boy is always looking for ways to make a difference in people’s lives, especially children.

Aside from the COVID-19 awareness creation role that he is playing, Raphael is also a child rights champion.

Raphael with his mother Margaret. She is proud of the good work that her son does in their community.
Raphael with his mother Margaret. She is proud of the good work that her son does in their community. ©World Vision Photo/Irene Sinoya.

 

He constantly checks on children and reports any cases of abuse to the Chelwa CBO, which has been empowered by World Vision to address child protection matters and forward arising complaints to the relevant authorities such as the police and the County Child Protection department.

“At first, I was sceptical about the existence of COVID-19. But after listening to my son and hearing a lot about it from the radio, I was convinced that the disease is real. I am really proud of my son and the good job he his doing to spread the message in the community and help people,” says Margaret.

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Raphael helps his family with livestock keeping once he finishes studying .©World Vision Photo/Irene Sinoya.

 

During the day, Raphael usually reads. He also helps his parents with house chores and livestock keeping. Later in the evening, he joins his friends at a nearby field to unwind and relax by playing football.

While there, he takes the opportunity to sensitise his peers on COVID-19 and find out how they are faring at home.

Raphael sensitises his friends on COVID-19 prevention strategies before they begin playing football.©World Vision Photo/Irene Sinoya.
Raphael sensitises his friends on COVID-19 prevention strategies before they begin playing football.©World Vision Photo/Irene Sinoya.

 

Before any football game begins, all children have to wear facemasks and wash their hands with soap and water. The numbers also remain minimal to avoid overcrowding.

Raphael is among the many children empowered by World Vision who have taken it upon themselves to continue making a difference in their communities so as to protect fellow children from COVID-19 and abuse.