This article was written by Samba Guisse. Mr. Guisse is a refugee from Mauritania, a single parent of two sons. He is a hard-working man and an education advocate within the Mauritanian and Senegalese community.
Reflecting on this past year, it has been tough for me and my family. It was hard working and trying to navigate my son’s online school.
It was tough for me because I lost my job early last year due to the pandemic, I was furloughed and had to apply for unemployment. It was hard applying for unemployment because the system kept logging out, and it took me several days to input all the information. When I finally received my first payment it was a breakthrough.
At the same time, I had to provide for two kids, one in 8th grade in Denver Public Schools and the other in his first year in college. When DPS moved to online school it was hard at first for me and my son. We had a lot of internet issues and connection issues due to not having a stable network. The school was able to provide us with hotspots which really helped me.
At the beginning of this school year, it was a struggle for me and my son. I had a hard time trying to help him with his schoolwork, because my English is not very good, and I never had any form of education. I knew he was falling behind because teachers were calling and telling me he was not doing his work.
When I asked him why he wasn’t doing his work, he would tell me he didn’t understand, or he wasn’t receiving the help he had pre-covid. It really was frustrating for me as I felt like I could not assist him at all, and he was falling far behind.
What really helped me was Ousman Ba and the African Leadership Group. I was struggling, and I reached out to Ousman, a family friend, to see if there was any way he could assist me. Ousman told me about the pandemic pod ALG was running, I enrolled my son as soon as possible.
Once he enrolled, I saw the shift in his grades and received fewer calls from the school.
Now my son is back to in-person school and doing better.