Respected community members,
we hope you and your loved ones are keeping well. Across the country these past few days, COVID-19 has affected everyone in some form. Yet, despite these challenging times, we have been encouraged to see our community rally together.
As we work through this together, we want to reassure you that we are here to support you. In that vein, on the 28th August 2021, under the Pakistan Association of New Zealand (PANZ) guidance, your Women Wing Leads initiated several activities with groups we lead and work with closely that we wish to share with you.
The PANZ’s Women Wing committee made up of Mrs Eimaan Hamid, Mrs Sahar Ali Jan, and Mrs Wajiha Ali, facilitated an informal Zoom meeting with the children in the community to check on their well-being during the Level 4 lockdown. We began with Talawat-e-Quran by Abdullah Shah. Followed by a questions and answer session to give the participants the opportunity to voice their opinions; how they feel and what they are doing to keep them occupied during the lockdown.
It was amazing to discover the multitude of talents among our children. We are blessed with their creativity and proactive activities like learning new languages, discovering new artistic ideas, helping their parents, minding their younger siblings, exercising, outdoor gardening, and many more. In addition, they still have their studies from 9am to 12pm Monday to Friday. Some of the older children are very good with technology specially communication devices which they use to have Zoom catch-ups with their friends and families to avoid feeling lonely and isolated.
Despite the above mentioned, the children expressed the following feedback about their experiences during the lockdown:
– we are bored
– we miss going places
– we miss going to school
– we miss our friends (those that cannot access devices)
– we miss our teachers and learning away from home
Furthermore, we also discussed steps we could take to stamp out COVID-19, including:
– wear a mask when in public areas, even if going for a walk
– get tested if you are unwell, have been at one of the locations of interest or have been asked to
– those that are 12 years old should get their vaccine
– stay home and self-isolate if you are not well
– keep two meters of social distancing in public
– last but not least listen to your parents as they also find it hard to cope during the lockdown
The children also expressed their appreciation for providing them with a platform to voice their opinions and share stories and ideas. The Zoom meeting was a safe space to open up about their feelings and experiences with others who shared their cultural and religious beliefs and customs. Everyone agreed that we are grateful to have each other, and all would like to continue engaging and connecting via Zoom. We are hopeful to meet every fortnight as per their request.
We thank the parents for their support and allowing children to participate in PANZ’s initiative despite the challenges, if anything they appreciate inclusiveness and well-being activities.
May Allah guide and protect us always.
Shukria / Ngā mihi