The Inside Project: Local 8-year-old creates space for children’s voices on the pandemic

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"This is a universal crisis and, for some children, the impact will be lifelong". (Charles Thatcher/Getty Images)
"This is a universal crisis and, for some children, the impact will be lifelong". (Charles Thatcher/Getty Images)

Local author 8-year-old Laena-Mae Turner lives with a rare life-threatening illness which has meant living in constant seclusion ever since the start of the lockdowns in 2020.

The time alone has led the young author to realize there was no place for children to share their unique experiences, good and bad, with the world.

Inspired by her own isolation, the 8-year-old is creating a global community for the children of the world to share their lockdown experiences. 

"We received so many letters, notes and videos from children all over the world, after they heard her story and read her book," shares her mother, Candice Turner. 

"In February this year, after we sat sorting through the letters, drawings and notes, we realized how many children had their own stories to share. It was at this moment Laena-Mae turned to me and said she wanted to give them all the chance to share their story, just as she had. And so, the concept of a global community and time-capsule of the pandemic, from a child’s perspective, was born." 

Also ready: Education interrupted: Time to talk about the future of our children

The Inside Project

The site, will serve as a safe space where children’s unique lockdown experiences can be showcased so that we truly understand the impact of the pandemic on their psyche. 

In addition to the platform, Laena-Mae, together with the publisher of her book, Inside We Stayed for Months and Days, will launch an exciting new book where the young author will be encouraging children to share their own art and poems that will be published this year.

The upcoming book, Inside: The Voices of the Lockdown Generation will be a time capsule of the pandemic, showcasing the voices of 100 children around the world. "So many grownups wrote books about the lockdowns, but no one asked the kids how we were feeling or let us speak,” explained Laena-Mae.

"I wrote my book last year because I wanted to cheer my friends up and wanted to give them some hope that things would get better. Now I know that there is more I must do, because so many children want to tell their stories too."

Giving Back

Given the devastating impact on children in developing countries around the world, Laena-Mae has decided to donate the proceeds of the new book to an NGO in South Africa.

"Let’s face it, the effects of this pandemic and the resulting lockdowns will not be distributed equally,” says Candice.

"Reports and all NGOs agree that the impact is most damaging for children in the poorest countries, in the poorest neighbourhoods, and for those in already disadvantaged or vulnerable situations. We are incredibly inspired by the hard work charities around the world do each day in their local communities and want to raise awareness for the important role they play in the lives of thousands of children each day."

"This is a universal crisis and, for some children, the impact will be lifelong," concludes Candice.

Submitted to Parent24 by Miss Mae Books. 


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