Access to health and education, violence prevention and response, and mental health concerns of children and adolescents during COVID-19 crisis
Panama City, July 29, 2020.- The COVID-19 humanitarian crisis in Latin America and the Caribbean has brought to light the profound inequalities occurring in our region, which have a greater impact on the most vulnerable people, including children and adolescents. Through the report “COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean. Children’s rights are not quarantined”, Save the Children is committed to strengthening education in the response to Covid-19 because of its key role in protecting public health, keeping children safe, and promoting their psychological and emotional well-being, while promoting child participation and ensuring that the voices of children and adolescents are taken into account in all decisions that affect them and in all response and recovery measures.
“We call on States, donors and other stakeholders to invest not only in responding to the pandemic, but also in improving and strengthening health, education, child protection and social protection services, while ensuring that essential services continue in the midst of the response.. This is the only way to guarantee the fulfillment of children’s rights in the midst of this exceptional situation.“commented Victoria Ward, Regional Director of Save the Children at the launch of the report, which makes the following recommendations to all actors involved in the response to and recovery from the humanitarian crisis caused by COVID-19:
Childhood talks about COVID-19 impacts
The concerns, proposals and recommendations of children and adolescents from several countries in the region were gathered during the first weeks of the pandemic in an intergenerational dialogue promoted by Save the Children with representatives of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Committee on the Rights of the Child, as well as through interviews conducted in Guatemala with the children and adolescents’ organization Red Presión, as in the case of Joel, a male adolescent from Guatemala: “I feel that many dreams I had in mind were put on hold, but I am confident that this will all be over soon and we will be able to go on with our normal lives.”
“There is limited access to face masks and alcohol gel because of hoarding by people or because of rising prices, and this makes it inaccessible for all the basic things we have to use,” he said. Cristina*, a female adolescent from Chile who is part of the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Girls, Boys and Adolescents (REDNNyAS); while Rafael*, a male adolescent from Paraguay, from the Latin American and Caribbean Movement of Working Children and Adolescent Workers (MOLACNATS) reflected on access to timely information: “About the information that comes to us, we don’t understand the language that is used in giving the information. Very complex or technical words are used that we don’t understand”.
In terms of education, 159 million students in the region are affected by the closure of schools and universities, representing 95% of the school-aged population
Although 90% of governments in the region include digital platforms in their continuing education plans, unfortunately one third of the region’s population still does not have access to the Internet, which clearly limits their educational continuity.
“Regarding virtual education, there is a big gap between children in the rural area and children in the urban area, because children in the rural area are the ones who have little Internet connection to do their homework. Another gap is that of children with disabilities, could it be that there are special virtual classes for these children? The children may be affected in this school year with repercussions in the future, in the labor field,” he said. Amelia*, adolescent female from Colombia.
In relation to the protection of children and adolescents, several countries in the region have reported an increase in cases of domestic violence of between 50% and 70% during the weeks of confinement, as well as an increase in the number of complaints of gender-based violence. “With the confinement of children and adolescents we are more exposed to violence, especially punishment, especially girls who are forced to live with their aggressors.” commented Maria*, a female adolescent from Peru, referring to how children and especially girls are the most affected by cases of violence at the hands of caregivers and family members.
Save the Children also highlights the situation of migrant and displaced populations. Between March and May, at least 1,000 unaccompanied migrant children were returned from the United States to Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. This has generated a situation of great vulnerability for these returnee children given the difficulties of access to services and protection they have encountered due to their situation of return during COVID 19.
“My concern is what benefits we migrant children would have if we get the virus, since we don’t have health insurance” Alicia*, female adolescent and Venezuelan migrant in Colombia.
NOTE TO EDITORS
Names of children and adolescents with the symbol * were changed for protection reasons.
The report “COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean. Children’s rights are not quarantined” in Save the Children’s Resource Center: https://resourcecentre.savethechildren.net/library/childrens-rights-are-not-quarantined-covid-19-latin-america-and-caribbean
Save the children
We firmly believe that the internet should be available and accessible to anyone, and are committed to providing a website that is accessible to the widest possible audience, regardless of circumstance and ability.
To fulfill this, we aim to adhere as strictly as possible to the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG 2.1) at the AA level. These guidelines explain how to make web content accessible to people with a wide array of disabilities. Complying with those guidelines helps us ensure that the website is accessible to all people: blind people, people with motor impairments, visual impairment, cognitive disabilities, and more.
This website utilizes various technologies that are meant to make it as accessible as possible at all times. We utilize an accessibility interface that allows persons with specific disabilities to adjust the website’s UI (user interface) and design it to their personal needs.
Additionally, the website utilizes an AI-based application that runs in the background and optimizes its accessibility level constantly. This application remediates the website’s HTML, adapts Its functionality and behavior for screen-readers used by the blind users, and for keyboard functions used by individuals with motor impairments.
If you’ve found a malfunction or have ideas for improvement, we’ll be happy to hear from you. You can reach out to the website’s operators by using the following email
Our website implements the ARIA attributes (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) technique, alongside various different behavioral changes, to ensure blind users visiting with screen-readers are able to read, comprehend, and enjoy the website’s functions. As soon as a user with a screen-reader enters your site, they immediately receive a prompt to enter the Screen-Reader Profile so they can browse and operate your site effectively. Here’s how our website covers some of the most important screen-reader requirements, alongside console screenshots of code examples:
Screen-reader optimization: we run a background process that learns the website’s components from top to bottom, to ensure ongoing compliance even when updating the website. In this process, we provide screen-readers with meaningful data using the ARIA set of attributes. For example, we provide accurate form labels; descriptions for actionable icons (social media icons, search icons, cart icons, etc.); validation guidance for form inputs; element roles such as buttons, menus, modal dialogues (popups), and others. Additionally, the background process scans all of the website’s images and provides an accurate and meaningful image-object-recognition-based description as an ALT (alternate text) tag for images that are not described. It will also extract texts that are embedded within the image, using an OCR (optical character recognition) technology. To turn on screen-reader adjustments at any time, users need only to press the Alt+1 keyboard combination. Screen-reader users also get automatic announcements to turn the Screen-reader mode on as soon as they enter the website.
These adjustments are compatible with all popular screen readers, including JAWS and NVDA.
Users can also use shortcuts such as “M” (menus), “H” (headings), “F” (forms), “B” (buttons), and “G” (graphics) to jump to specific elements.
We aim to support the widest array of browsers and assistive technologies as possible, so our users can choose the best fitting tools for them, with as few limitations as possible. Therefore, we have worked very hard to be able to support all major systems that comprise over 95% of the user market share including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Opera and Microsoft Edge, JAWS and NVDA (screen readers), both for Windows and for MAC users.
Despite our very best efforts to allow anybody to adjust the website to their needs, there may still be pages or sections that are not fully accessible, are in the process of becoming accessible, or are lacking an adequate technological solution to make them accessible. Still, we are continually improving our accessibility, adding, updating and improving its options and features, and developing and adopting new technologies. All this is meant to reach the optimal level of accessibility, following technological advancements. For any assistance, please reach out to