Numbers rule our lives because they shape our stories in age, salary, item costs, height, horse power or in the current day the number of people infected by the Corona Virus. In the same way that numbers determine reopening, numbers have been shaping the lives of many since March.
Recently, on one of our social media platforms, we received a message from an alumni that simply read, ‘I lost my job’ Turns out, this 2019 NairoBits graduate had been working at a branding firm and due to the impact of COVID, the company had to let its staff go. This is a story that NairoBits has lived time and time again since March. In this particular case, the alumni says that he now faces a lot of stress because he can no longer support his siblings and mother.
A survey within the 2020 cohort students of NairoBits reveals painful numbers that have been caused by the impact of the Corona Virus. The survey shows that 17% of the students have moved up country, 2% have gotten pregnant and another 17% has been affected directly by COVID making the achievement of 100% graduation rate practically impossible. All of the students with gigs outside of studying at NairoBits (about 45%) say that their hustle was affected and some were wiped out altogether. Most of the learners state finances as their main issue at the moment that affects them most. In cases where finances are not mentioned as the main issue affecting them, the reasons alternate between unemployment and lack of access to education.
Even before the Corona Virus, these young people faced hard times in their communities which have now been exacerbated by the pandemic. In the households of the students, many breadwinners have lost their jobs and as such they cannot provide. A couple of them say that the number of times they take a meal now has reduced in a bid of saving for later meals.
We don’t eat food all the time; sometimes we skip lunches so that we can save to have super or breakfast
Many of who were used to providing for themselves and their families are feeling helpless seeing themselves as a liability to the family. For many months, they have been unable to access the internet and as such they are behind on their studies. Other issues are gender-specific including lack of sanitary towels for the girls and an increased risk of early pregnancies. These reasons compounded with the amount of time that they now spend at home, the students say that pressure from their peers to engage in social evils has now increased. The probability of them falling into the risky life of crime and drug abuse has definitely escalated. There is great need for an intervention specifically geared to the youth hailing from low income informal settlements to reduce the numbers that are turning to social evil for survival.