The Horrendous Loneliness Under Covid-19

Sitting on run-down precast wall with one hand clutching the right jaw, Catherine Kasiyandima (35) goes down memory lane reminiscing the days that she used to wake up early in the morning going to work.

Life worsened three months ago when the Government announced the second lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Her employer relayed the devastating news that her services were no longer needed at the company.

Since then, Kasiyandima who is a single parent has struggled to settle her bills and rentals for the two rooms she is lodging in Harare’s Glen Norah suburb.

“I used to work at a local manufacturing company. When the first lockdown was announced I thought it would only last the 21 days announced however, the extension spelt doom for me as my employer called me telling me my services were no longer needed,” said Kasiyandima.

For her it was the beginning of a different lifestyle as her family could only settle for a single meal a day.

“Imagine you are a mother and father at the same time, children looking up to you. I am only able to give them one meal a day and I feel like I am betraying my family. Things are just tough, I have since turned to do menial jobs within the community,” said the mother of three

Charity Musarapasi another single parent with one child says the pandemic has brought suffering to her as she used to work at a local garment manufacturing company.

“I used to work as a tailor at a local company, the announcement of the entire lockdown meant we were not going to get salaries despite Government announcing that salaries be paid. We were served with letters advising us of termination of contracts.

“Since then I have relocated from Glen View to my parents’ house in Mbare because I no longer have a stable source of income. I have also set up a small market where I am selling toys and junk foods for children. The pandemic is a disaster especially when you are a single parent,” said Musarapasi.

The informal market has not been spared as some of the market places were closed to leaving mostly single mothers struggling to make ends meet.

“Honestly speaking the coronavirus has had a negative impact on my part as a single parent. I used to sell second hand clothes at Mupedzanhamo Flea market. Since the closure of the market I have been playing hide and seek with police. This is burdensome as I will be trying to earn a living,” said 38 year old Thelma Chipere.

Chipere says there was a glimmer of hope when the Government announced that there will be a Covid-19 allowance for citizens and nothing has come to fruition.

“We had placed hope in the Government’s promise that there will be a cushioning allowance for citizens but up to now nothing has come to fruition. If we had received it, things could have been better,” she said

Mike Ndiweni, director of the Bulawayo Vendors association says the Covid-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on single mothers leaving many with nothing.

“Some women particularly single mothers have not been able to restock after they spent their savings during the lockdown. When the easing of the lockdown was made they had nothing. The impact of Covid-19 has been severe.” said Ndiweni

The Covid-19 pandemic has left the socio-economic fabric torn leaving many women exposed and hard pressed by the pandemic’s economic impacts.

An April report “Policy Brief: The Impact of Covid-19 on Women” released by the United Nations confirmed how the impact of Covid-19 across the global economy will be intense, especially for women.

According to the report, women’s economic and productive lives will be affected disproportionately and differently from men. This is because across the globe, women earn less, save less, hold less secure jobs and are more likely to be employed in the informal sector. Women also have less access to social protections and the majority are of single-parent households.

“Their capacity to absorb economic shocks is therefore less than that of men,” noted the report.

The report notes that an estimated 2.7 billion workers have been affected by lockdowns be it full scale or partial.

“Markets and supply chains have been disrupted, businesses are required to close or scale back operations, and millions have or will lose their jobs and livelihoods. ILO has estimated that full or partial lockdown measures now affect almost 2.7 billion workers, representing around 81% of the world’s workforce, while the IMF projects a significant contraction of global output in 2020.” read the report

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic are being felt across the country as fears are high that hunger instead of the diseases will claim more lives.

– Thanks to support from Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Zimbabwe – https://www.facebook.com/kaszimbabwe

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