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Help Me Learn Africa sets up emergency Covid feeding programme

Louise Barea, founder of Help Me Learn Africa, a charity usually dealing with the education of children in Ghana, has set up a food programme to help children during the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Ghana, just like the rest of the world has been dealing with a virus that has taken the lives of nearly 2,500 in Africa, 24 of which were in Ghana itself.

The country is also seeing an increase in its positive cases as it approaches 5,500 making it the fifth most infected country in the continent.

“Due to the strict lockdown measures been put into place in Ghana resulted in the closing of markets businesses and schools,” said Ms Barea.

“Therefore many small villages have experienced hunger.”

“Especially my beloved village of Kewunor where Maranatha School is located. The school I have been developing for the past seven years.”

As the lockdown was enforced Ms Barea started to receive a large volume of calls from locals saying the children were going days without food, and they desperately needed help.

“So I needed to do something quickly to help,” she said.

“I came up with an emergency Covid-19 food programme which provides one hot meal a day to feed as many kids as possible in Kewunor.”

“The Emergency Covid Feeding Programme was so necessary that we have had children from the surrounding villages walk over three hours to attend the feeding programme, and even had to start another programme in the village next door called Azizianya.”

Help Me Learn Africa is now currently running two programmes in two different villages at the same time, feeding a total of almost 1000 children every day with the numbers increasing.

Due to the high demand of children needing food she is turning once again to ask Gibraltar residents to help her raise funds. Raising awareness of the children’s plight on social media meant that donations received allowed the Covid-19 food programme to be in operation for three weeks.

However, as the virus continues to grow and the number of children affected by the lockdown and therefore hunger increases she is seeking further donations to keep feeding the children.

“Although we are managing we have no idea how long this pandemic is going to go on for so we are still in desperate need of help with funds,” she said.

As Ghana airport is closed and restrictions have been extended until the end of the month she is unable to travel there. As a result she is managing the food programme from the Rock.

“Seeing the effects this pandemic has had on kids I have seen grow up for the past seven years and not being there to help has really taken toll on me emotionally,” she discloses.

“And with the countries current unstableness and increasing number of cases I have even sadly had to cancel my project this summer where we were meant to build a nursery.”

“Education which is my main focus at the moment has been set aside, and I have had to focus on what's important now which is survival. I cannot let kids go hungry,’ she adds.

She admits that managing such a large project from another continent has been both extremely difficult and stressful.

“But none the less thanks to my amazing team in Ghana who are not only managing to feed hundreds of kids from all ages and background every single day they are also teaching them the importance of social distancing and hygiene,” she said.

“The team in Ghana have been essential to the success of this project and I cannot thank them enough.”

The team are live every day on the charity's Instagram 'Helpmelearnafrica' at 2pm where they show everyone what it is doing and raising awareness.

“At the end of the day Gibraltar is extremely lucky to be in the situation its currently in although we might sometimes think it is not,” she said.

To donate go to https://helpmelearnafrica.com/donate/

A donation of £25 feeds 162 children per day.