Children and youth reflect on a year of the COVID-19 pandemic

By Global Fund for Children | April 2, 2021 | Africa & The Middle East, Europe & Eurasia, South Asia, The Americas |

Young people share their worries, what has helped them get through this difficult year, and their hopes for a post-pandemic world.

Few generations have experienced the level of disruption children and youth around the world have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools have closed, family members have lost jobs or gotten sick, and young people have experienced social isolation amid lockdowns.

Global Fund for Children staff asked our kids, nieces and nephews, and other children in our lives, as well as some of the young people who participate in our local partners’ programs, to tell us about their experiences. Here’s what they said:

What suggestions do you have for other kids for staying busy during the pandemic?

“My suggestion to other kids trying to stay busy during the pandemic would be to try new things. The pandemic has allowed for many kids to have more free time than they usually do, including me, and finding a new hobby that you may have been interested in but never had the time to go into could be great for occupying time.” – Malcom, 16, Lomé, Togo

“Learn to cook.” – Angelina, 7, Cairo, Egypt (Translated from Arabic)

A drawing by five-year-old Ella

A drawing from Ella in Mexico City, Mexico.

“First, in the mornings, wake up, brush your hair, put on clothes, eat breakfast, start classes, and later play if you have a swimming pool or something, or do exercises, then play, then do exercise again for a little while, jump, then if you have a bike, ride your bike or tricycle for two hours and play and then after playing all day, take a bath, put on pajamas, and go to sleep.” – Ella, 5, Mexico City, Mexico (Translated from Spanish)

“Being creative and going outside for long walks with your family, and watching films.” – Belle, 9, United Kingdom

“I am in ninth grade. Earlier during the pandemic, it was easy to pass time. We would play with other children and chat with them. When the area where we live had some COVID-19 patients, our parents got scared and forbade us to go outside. Children were restricted to their homes and it was very boring to sit at home and just watch TV. We wanted to go back to school as soon as possible. I think parents can allow children to interact with their friends by taking precautions like the use of a mask and sanitizer.” – Nikita, 16, Kolhapur, India (Translated from Marathi)

Drawing on COVID-19 pandemic

A drawing from Nikita in Kolhapur, India.

“They should not stop learning because they have big dreams for the future.” – Steven, 13, Nairobi, Kenya

“Since every girl and boy likes to have fun, my suggestion is that they stay busy reading stories that are very interesting and fun.” – Kimberly Stacy, 14, Tegucigalpa, Honduras (Translated from Spanish)

“I have suggestions for other kids:

i) Studying for more time because due to pandemic schools are closed and it should not affect our studies.
ii) Spending time with family. Due to school and the office, everyone was busy in their own work.
iii) We need to attend online class, which helps us to study. We also can make art and show our creativity.”

– Aryan, 15, West Bengal, India

“Reading stories, helping others, housekeeping. There are many things, but the most important thing is to use time, and this is my personal opinion, to help others.” – Sama, 12, Cairo, Egypt (Translated from Arabic)

A drawing from Aryan in West Bengal, India.
What has helped you during the pandemic?

“My family and I talk about COVID-19 whenever there is something new going on, and so that I always stay safe.” – Josephine, 11, Washington, DC, United States

“Spending more time with my parents and doing some chores with them at home.” – Adham, 8, Cairo, Egypt (Translated from Arabic)

“Being without our routine can be very depressing! You sit at home all day every day, see the same thing, and the school assigns a lot of projects. And just between us, Zoom is not a great way to study. The awful feeling of sitting all day alone in your room in front of a computer … it’s very depressing! But this is the situation now and we should do our best not to get out of our mind and feel good! For example, to maintain a good mood I used to listen to a lot of music that I like, it helped me a lot. While listening to music, I got rid of all the troubles and just cleared my head of all the thoughts. And, of course, how is anything possible without friends! The people closest to you will always lift your spirits.” – Nika, 17, Rehovot, Israel

A photo of a port in Israel

A photo Nika took of the Port of Ashdod in Israel.

“Developing the skill of drawing.” – Angel, 16, Cairo, Egypt (Translated from Arabic)

“Learning to be more united with my family.” – Katy Gissel, 11, Tegucigalpa, Honduras (Translated from Spanish)

“One thing that helped me was having a dog and doing outdoors activities and my Xbox, too.” – Grant, 11, Columbia, Maryland, United States

“In lockdown, I learned how to cook food at home. I learned how to care for my family and give time to my family. And I learned how to be safe from the coronavirus.” – Soinam, 16, West Bengal, India (Translated from Hindi)

Drawing of a girl playing with her brother

A drawing by Soinam in West Bengal, India.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought family members closer. It has brought the nations together. People have taken better care of themselves hygienically.” – Kachuma, 15, Nairobi, Kenya

“Collecting information on the epidemic.” – Lara, 11, Cairo, Egypt (Translated from Arabic)

“What helped me in the pandemic was definitely more family time. Also when we went on trips and socially distanced activities.” – Henry, 11, Germantown, Maryland, United States

What are you most worried about?

“That all of the kids and all of the family members that live here in Querétaro will get sick.” – Sergio, 5, Querétaro, Mexico (Translated from Spanish)

“My daddy getting coronavirus because my mummy had a really bad time.” – Harper, 6, United Kingdom

“The epidemic continues.” – Maya, 8, Cairo, Egypt (Translated from Arabic)

A drawing of a family

A drawing by Sergio in Querétaro, Mexico.

“In lockdown, I was very worried about the closing of my school, and also, I was not able to leave home. And also, I worried about the closed work of my parent.” – Tiya, 15, West Bengal, India (Translated from Hindi)

“Getting infected with COVID-19. Losing my loved ones. Losing many of the Kenyan citizens because of the effects of the pandemic.” – Angela, 13, Nairobi, Kenya

“I am worried that it will take a pretty long time until friends can play inside houses again.” – Dominic, 8, Silver Spring, Maryland, United States

A drawing of a girl going to school

A drawing by Tiya in West Bengal, India.

“I am worried that people may commit suicide.” – Vallery, 14, Nairobi, Kenya

“I am most worried about how the economy will be after the pandemic, because our world is struggling with this and it could be bad after the pandemic.” – Milo, 11, Washington, DC, United States

“Coronavirus comes to someone I love.” – Keraia, 9, Cairo, Egypt (Translated from Arabic)

What are you most looking forward to when the pandemic is over?

“When the pandemic is over, I want to continue with the life I had before the pandemic.” – Lydia, 14, Nairobi, Kenya

“Going places without a mask and seeing friends!” – Ben, 9, Columbia, Maryland, United States

“Celebrating the end of the epidemic.” – Moaemen, 11, Cairo, Egypt (Translated from Arabic)

A photo fo Feza in Democratic Republic of the Congo

A photo of Feza in Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“I cannot wait to see the pandemic disappear. Once it is over, I would like to get back to my usual behavior: start visiting my friends, colleagues, and relatives. But also, I would like to get back to my studies that I stopped due to a lack of sufficient financial means.” – Feza, 16, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Translated from French)

“Going to school. Going on a trip with the nursery.” – Rawan, 8, Cairo, Egypt (Translated from Arabic)

“Once the lockdown ends, I want to visit my friend’s house. Once the lockdown ends, I want to go to school and also I want to visit my big mum’s [mother’s eldest sister’s] home.” – Srijana, 16, West Bengal, India (Translated from Hindi)

“Visit everyone I know.” – Yassin, 12, Cairo, Egypt (Translated from Arabic)

A drawing of a school

A drawing by Srijana in West Bengal, India.
Is there anything else you want to share with other kids?

“That they pay attention to how the people they care about are because they might need to pour their hearts out, or that they simply find out if they are okay, do things they like, and know that all of us are going through something difficult.” – Isabella, 12, Buenos Aires, Argentina (Translated from Spanish)

A self-portrait of a girl

A drawing by Isabella in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

“I would tell other kids to stay at home during the pandemic. It can be very boring because you do not see other pupils like your best friend, but it is good for you.” – Morgan, 14, Nairobi, Kenya

“We have to stay optimistic! It’s hard right now, but it’s going to get better soon. Keep your head up.” – Miles, 14, Germantown, Maryland, United States

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