Almost one year since the COVID-19 virus emerged and turned lives upside down, the enduring global pandemic continues to impact lives fundamentally. As countries clamber for vaccines to reach the most vulnerable, the concealed negative effect on young people may turn out to be the most significant untreated hazard in the years to come. The consistently inconsistent societal and learning landscape is leaving young people feeling uncertain and anxious, leading to a potential mental health and educational emergency for an entire generation.
New data compiled by FundLife shows just how COVID-19 has changed the lives of vulnerable young people in Tacloban, Leyte, and the subsequent impact COVID-19 uncertainty has on their mental health, their education and future ambitions.
In a recent survey conducted by FundLife on almost 250 vulnerable youth from Leyte aged 10-16, data showed eight out ten young people admitted to still being very concerned by the pandemic, while over 95% admitted they remain worried that their family will get sick from COVID-19.
The heightened sense of helplessness in protecting family members is even more acute for youth from underserved communities, impacting their learning. Households have an average of 4.6 people living in an average of 2.3 bedrooms, making quiet learning almost impossible for youth. 81% of youths said they find it challenging to find a place to study, while 76% said it’s tough for them to concentrate on learning while at home.
One of the significant contributors aside from lack of enabling space is the digital divide exacerbated and exposed as learning moves online. Less than 20% of young people questioned had access to either a tablet or laptop at their home, while 86% admitted it’s very hard to learn without a teacher’s help.
To tackle the growing and protracted education emergency that COVID-19 has amplified, FundLife has been supporting youth with learn-from-home videos that they can view on their phones as schools continue to stay shut, some ten months after the crisis started. In addition to accessible online content, FundLife has been delivering family-packs so that young people can focus on education and lessen their responsibility toward the family household income which has often been negatively impacted by COVID-19 as businesses remain shut.
Despite access to videos and safe-at-home packs FundLife provides, young people still need further and continuous support. Over 95% of those surveyed said not enough is being done to help young people during the crisis, and call for greater social, emotional and educational support from authorities.
FundLife, in collaboration with local partners, is continuing to explore ways to improve access to learning for the most vulnerable children and youth.
FundLife will publish a full report in coming weeks and recommendations for interventions to help vulnerable youth. We are inviting new partners to join us as we move towards ensuring all young people have the support services they need to thrive and focus on education. To learn more email email@example.com