Fast forward to July, and tourism still hasn’t picked up as our students and the hotels had hoped. Over 50% of students are now unemployed, creating a greater financial burden on themselves and their families. The remainder of the Rapid Response Grant was used to provide emergency assistance to 15 students and a further 12 phone top up cards as this is something these students could no longer afford to prioritise, given their changing financial situations.
During this time, JWOC has been able to learn more about student’s needs, which is agency and choice; to purchase food, medicine, and rental costs if their family does not have their own land. For example, the mother of one of our students passed away, resulting in funeral costs, one student suddenly became ill and spent what money she had left on a visit to the health clinic, and another had to sell her only means of transportation in order to pay rent. Given the ongoing situation, JWOC has made the decision to move towards a cash transfer program from August onwards.