Shahnaz Rahman, a social worker, says it’s essential that children at the shelter get the psychosocial care they need, even when some staff can’t be there in person because of the lockdowns.
Protection, inside and out
“I call at least four times a day to find out how the children are doing. I try to bring some positive energy and talk openly about the pandemic so that children don’t internalize their anxiety,” she says. UNICEF has also provided leaflets explaining how to prevent the spread of infection, as well as additional soap and disinfectant.
Shahnaz Rahman feels bad that she can’t be with the children in person, but she knows that they are getting the support they need from the two resident caretakers, two cooks and a female guard, all of whom stay in touch with the social workers and monitor the children around the clock.
“The children are also helping themselves by keeping occupied with indoor group games and study,” she adds.
Sixteen-year-old Hasan says the children at the shelter miss school and being able to see friends. “But we feel safe inside the shelter. We’re careful and we try to help each other,” he says. “The older children help the younger ones with their lessons, and we try to cheer each other up.”