Passionate about the cause of underprivileged children and teenagers, founder of Beyond the Classroom Foundation (BTCF), Raquel Daniel has continued to educate children on COVID-19. This she has effectively done through her book, ‘There Is a New Virus in Town’ which has beendistributed for free to children in Lagos and Abuja, especially at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps.
With her primary goal of ensuring children in marginalised communities get access to educationand girls get access to free sanitary pads, the pandemic struck and the need to enlighten and educate children about the deadly virus also took the front burner.
According to Daniel, “in response to the current pandemic, we visited the IDP camp to distribute food, and realized that so many children there knew little or nothing about COVID-19. Our response to that problem was the COVID-19 book, There Is a New Virus in Town.”
The educator and nonprofit clarity coach noted that getting the COVID-19 book to the children wasn’t a challenge, but the funds to print the first set of books. After raising the funds they needed and printed the first 1,000 books, theyimmediately dispatched them in batches to theirvolunteers who then distributed the books to the children in their communities. With support from donors and grants, they have reached an additional 4,000 children.
“There are many more children without access to the right information about COVID-19. Poor children in Nigeria, including those displaced by conflict, those who live in vulnerable conditions, including IDP camps, informal settlements, and on the street all need the right information that can keep them and their families safe from Coronavirus,” Raquel added.
The book now translated in Hausa language was born out of the need to reach out to those who cannot read in English, “When we started distributing the COVID-19 book to marginalized children, we met with children in the IDP camps who couldn’t read and had little information about the virus. Because I could speak the Hausa Language, I translate the book in a language they could understand and it just made sense to them. Now, with support from Mastercard Foundation, we’re looking at translating it into other languages including, French, Swahili, Twi, Kinyarwanda, and Luganda. This will help us reach more children beyond Nigeria.”
Daniel and her team have also been involved in projects aimed at alleviating the sufferings of the poor and vulnerable through the COVID-19 Food Relief Program which donated food items to over 3,000 families in three COVID-19 hotspot States in Nigeria. By July 2020, through partnership and social media donations, the foundation alsodistributed free sanitary pads to women and girls in a bid to fight period poverty in this pandemic.
Their work isn’t done because Nigeria and many other countries are currently experiencing the second wave of the virus. Her organization is also seeking corporate organizations that can fund the printing of the book to reach more children. “We credit our corporate sponsor duly in the book and clearly state that the book isn’t for sale. The more funders we get, the more books we can print, the more children we can reach,” Raquel added.