Academy proprietor turns school into furniture shop
The Covid-19 pandemic has literally brought life to a standstill across the globe.
As with the rest of the world, the impact of the virus in the country has literally stretched to every sector of the economy.
The education sector has, however, been affected more after the government ordered closure of schools to January next year.
Private schools are believed to have bore the brunt of the virus’ economic impact.
And with uncertain future, teachers are now engaging in other economic ventures to provide for their families amid the pandemic.
While some may have resorted to fate, Shadrack Atik, the proprietor of the New Shamy Academy in Mvita Mombasa, has vowed not to remain hungry anymore after schools closed in March in an attempt to slow the spread of Covid- 19.
Atik says that with no jods, and with bills to settle, and a family to take cater for, he has turned his school into a carpentry workshop. He began making furniture in May.
“After accepting the reality that Corona is will be here for a while, l decided to stop self-pity and think outside the box.
l consulted some of my teachers who felt that if we continued to sit at home and wait for government interventions, we would lose the building where the school stands, l, therefore, decided to source for carpenters and procure materials with the my savings and opened this business.
At least I am optimistic I’d pay the rent and a little stipend to my staff,” he said.
The school was founded in 1999 and has 350 pupils with 15 teachers who have all lost their income due to Covid-19.
“I have been unable to pay them, after schools were ordered shut down, due to the spread of Covid-19, but among the 15 l have employed four in the carpentry workshop since they had the skills, to make furniture,” Said Atik.
Adding that his new business has come along way, in ensuring that his staff is paid half of their salaries.
“They have bills to pay, and out of this newly established business can pay them a little, remit National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), National Social Security Fund (NSSF ) and Kenya Revenue Authority arrears for my staff,” he said.
He further added that he might consider sustaining his new business even after schools reopen come next year.
“I will get a suitable place where l can continue operating the carpentry business even after schools reopen. It is an eye-opener and l would love to keep doing it,” he said.
Mombasa County Private Schools association (KPSA) chairperson Omar Mbuli said that their teachers have continued to bear a myriad of challenges due to Coronavirus pandemic.
He has called on the government to set aside a special kitty in a bid to address the challenges facing them.
“Teachers have also been rendered jobless. We are calling on the government to to consider setting aside some amount to cater for the needs of private teachers during the Covid times,” he said.
“We are human. We have become vulnerable and so far we have recorded several cases attempted suicides due to the current situation,” said Mbili.
According to Mbuli, some 114 private schools in the county have been shut down due to the coronavirus, with over 2,000 teachers having been affected.
“Let the government come up with a plan to feed the affected teachers with either relief food or help clear their rent arrears,” he said.