One of the sectors most affected by the presence and spread of the virus is the education system. The pandemic has led to the closure of schools and universities, since March 2020. This situation has put the authorities, the Ministry of Education, institutions, parents and students in an unprecedented situation.
More than 26 million young people and children are unable to attend school.
The Ministry says it is studying the conditions for reopening schools, but that a solution has not yet been found. Suffice it to say that Ethiopian schools house on average between 50 and 60 students in a single class. Consequently, it is very difficult to maintain a safe social distance between students, as any one desk is generally shared between 2-3 children.
Despite the concerns of schools and trade unions, all school buildings, including the Salesian ones, have thus remained closed. The vocational training centers, at the moment, are considering restarting, welcoming only a limited number of students.
The interventions of the Salesians in Ethiopia, however, have not been limited to the field of education and school. In recent months, the resources made available by the Salesians have also been invested in the purchase and distribution of basic necessities, such as sanitary kits, food rations, containers for water, clothes and blankets. Also, there have been numerous programs to raise awareness of the virus and the risks it entails.
The Salesians of all the communities present in Ethiopia have been taking part in the fight against Covid-19, together with the Capuchin and Ursuline nuns, and various lay collaborators in the mission.