SINGAPORE - Three months after the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 a pandemic on March 11, humanitarian aid organisation Save The Children has launched a new initiative, getting 15 children from 15 different countries to write a poem on their experiences of life under lockdown.
According to the United Nations Children's Fund, an estimated 1.6 billion children were forced out of school at the height of the pandemic. These poems express the children's feelings of fear and loneliness but also optimism and solidarity.
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Eun Jun Kang, 11, South Korea
When there wasn't coronavirus, I could have hang out with friends,
go to school and crowded places.
Now it is upside down.
I don't go outside anymore as confirmed cases rise.
That makes me stay at home alone without meeting or playing with friends.
We may not have summer vacation with the school's opening delayed.
I wish to go back in the days once the crisis ends
Zharick, 15, Columbia
When we are so close, from being so far away from those we love
When love becomes a priority and only until yesterday, it was part of a further delay
When giving you a kiss is what I want most, but I can't. I mustn't.
When I embrace you my soul cries out and only yesterday I had no time.
When going out for a walk in the park was the super plan and always an excuse.
And today, when I have no more time and no more excuses I can only say goodbye.
So, please, I'm asking you to stay home.
Gael Alberto, 17, Mexico
Let's talk about this pandemic - very serious news that came into the world.
What was our life like before all this?
You have wondered how drastically our thinking changed after the first rumour; for many, it is just one rumour more, for others, it is the fall of something grave.
The things we did, the places we went, without asking ourselves what will happen tomorrow.
Sometimes there is no explanation for why things happen. We know why, but under such circumstances, the human being is not programmed to obey 100%.
It's the law of life, and it's here we break the chain. Above all, I see sadness, nostalgia, madness everywhere; but nevertheless I see a united Mexico because there are more people who do good than those who do evil, more people who do their part for society.
What worries me most is not going out anymore, not seeing my loved ones, and taking hold of the life I used to have - even though sometimes I didn't value it as I should have.
Despite the circumstances, I'm still standing. I do what I like from home, whether it is the same experience or not.
Even though I miss going out to have fun, I know that the day will come when they will tell us the news that we will all be free,
the day when we will all carry with us a great lesson:
That time is now, today. Let's take action, let's save one more life, even if we don't know them. We will join forces so that all this comes to pass, we will come out of this problem, and we will rise up to be better, because we are people with aspirations, goals, dreams, all together for the world"
Aisha, 16, Nigeria
Over their parents' corpses in caskets
I am not going to judge you - confirmed cases and death this information is not easily digested by a child at all
The whole world you shacked and scattered and shattered
and we were moved and touched and locked down
I will not judge you corona as I still don't understand your purpose
Please go, go away corona, so I can hear the bells in the schools again
So I can give my friends a bone crushing hug again, so I can have my life back again.
Mary, 17, South Sudan
Fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, look around the world.
Many people have died because of coronavirus.
It is a really dangerous disease.
It has no mercy.
It can kill a person in a minute.
Be really serious. Always wash your hands with clean water and soap.
Avoid shaking hands.
Avoid being in gathering places.
Stop kissing and hugging.
Our life has become meaningless.
It has made people hopeless.
It has made people lifeless.
It has brought heartache among the people.
What a dangerous disease you are.
Dear South Sudanese
Let us gather our hands together
to fight coronavirus.
Mariam, 14, Gaza
It is a virus that made the world like the city of the dead
After we were playing with friends, the streets became empty.
We used go to a school to gain knowledge with my classmates.
But now we are sitting in our homes on our own
It is a virus that has deprived us from work and from the family's livelihood
A virus that if it infects a person, it weakens his strength
He would be deprived of seeing his family, loved ones and friends
His immunity fades if he cannot fight it
Ramadan came and we could not go to the mosques
Ramadan that's full of generosity comes without us being able to go to the mosques
We hope this pandemic will end and return to our lives
We return to our school, mosque, and work and see our loved ones
Eid will come and we will pray the Eid prayer in the mosque and see our loved ones.
Fouad, 17, Yemen
It came to my mind... A saying that's full of wonder... About what happened to time because of coronavirus.
For me, I swear, since an axe went in, it wandered and moved around; it gave the world a bunch of heart-wrenching lessons.
Worries increased for grown-ups and children, the pandemic increased and the worries made me bitter.
A fatal pandemic, has no mercy on its way it cuts bonds, blocks people's closeness, not to go to them, so are they.
Maya, 14, Jordan
Stay at home, please. Today the whole world is in distress.
Everyone advises in horror and fear. Wash your hands, sanitise yourself, don't infect us.
No guests, no visitors. We are alone at home
Corona stole our life.
Keep your distance, keep your distance and we did.
We became a few memories. Whenever they pass our imagination we smile.
Where's the school? Where are the classes? And my friends, and the teacher asking us about our homework.
Empty and sad streets. And the play grounds are as if they're asking about us.
Corona, tomorrow you will see. Our dreams, our awareness and our will bring us victory over you.
Lincoln, 11, United Kingdom
Life was always fast-paced, we never slowed down,
Until everything stopped when Corona came to town
Now all is quiet and there's peace all around,
We've looked in our hearts and kindness we've found.
We learn now with mum, this is a new feature,
But we can't wait to get back to our teacher.
I miss Sea Cadets, school, my friends and my dad,
I miss sharing the fun times and that makes me sad.
We've had social distancing picnics, social distancing walks,
Social distancing hugs and social distancing talks.
I'm looking forward to getting away,
The beach, the hotel and a perfect holiday.
When it is? I'll throw my arms open wide,
And shout to the world, WE CAN ALL GO OUTSIDE!
Don't give up hope, the end is in sight,
If we all stick together, we'll all win this fight.
Lavannya, 17, United States
And one deadly microbe
Brought the whole world to a standstill
and locked us in our home.
I didn't know I'd miss school
or the endless work
But this self-isolation
really is cruel.
They say history books will record this
as the time everyone stayed home
As if we'll need something
to help us remember this.
I miss being with my best friend
and I miss her hugs.
I hope 'Stay at Home' doesn't extend.
I dream of a day
where masks aren't needed.
A world without fear of infection.
I wish this virus
will soon be defeated.
Safiyya, 9, Canada
Governments tell us, "Stay Home, Stay Safe" because of this virus.
I try to do my part but staying at home 24/7 is not that easy. It is safe, but not easy at all.
Oh, how I miss my friends, our silliness, our long conversations.
I even miss our dramatic fights.
Oh, how I miss my freedom. The freedom to be a child, to just run and play...
Oh, how I miss going out to the malls, the parks, meeting friends, visiting my family.
But then I think of the people who have no choice but to go out to work:
Doctors, nurses, cashiers, soldiers, and many others...
They risk their lives so we all can stay safe and get the resources we need.
I thank them from the bottom of my heart!
I think about the people suffering, so many dying...
People who are gone forever from their loved ones.
They cry and weep but there is no use...
Those who were loved are never coming back.
I think about the homeless and the hungry.
They already suffer every day, yet, now they are hit harder than us.
Why are they hit hard? I don't know...
All I know is that we need to change this.
Then I say to myself, I can do this! I can do my part! I can stay home to stop the spread!
I can raise money for those who need it the most!
I can do this to stop the spread and you can too!
Leonardo, 14, Italy
This quarantine makes me think,
while I just want to drown in those thoughts
that today more than yesterday, remind me of its purity
I seem to be on the other side, dreaming of my freedom.
Sisters Furugh, 10, and Aysha, 11, Bosnia and Herzegovina
All you need to do is wash your hands and sanitise everything wherever you go.
People weren't wearing masks, so they started to die and that was when the quarantine began.
Until this day we are still in quarantine.
Thanks to doctors we are still safe and sound.
Estefany, 15, Peru
A virus that must unite us
Before: outings, friends, the movies, parties, dreams and goals.
Today: frustration, confinement, helplessness.
One day, you go out and enjoy what the streets can offer.
On the next, they ask you to stay home "for your own sake".
The reason: a virus no one can see, but that has definitely made us feel so many things.
The days pass.
They pass like the news, each time sadder and more worrying.
Some say: "look at the bright side: time to reflect, time to share with your family; time for everything'.
Some of us find that difficult to understand.
We say "my goals, my dreams, school, graduation..."
here we have to put our resilience to the test.
I dream that we will get out of this
I dream that you will stop your indifference.
Without a doubt, social poverty is what invades us
and intellectual poverty what sinks us.
Oh, what helplessness I feel
This helplessness, this crisis, this pandemic, is strong
But we will be even stronger if we unite.
We have thousands of infected
Thousands, like the will to keep fighting on.
Thousands, like the hope of getting out of this
Brother, join me, give me your hand and let's face this
Because together we are stronger.
Gradi, 14, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Once, we used to live well.
Meeting with my loved ones,
our families and my friends.
Today, we are forced to remain confined to our home.
No schools, no churches, no meetings.
Everyone is obliged to wear a mask and respect the prevention tips in order to fight against this disease which is called coronavirus.