From: Inside We Stayed
Published: Fri May 07 2021


"I wanted to create a place the children of the world can share their own lockdown stories and experiences so that they can feel that they are heard and see that we are all in this together."

Laena-Mae Turner (8) | Author, Agent of Change

A young girl with a rare life-threatening illness has launched a global community for the children of the world to share their own lockdown experiences. Laena-Mae Turner (8), who authored a book on the pandemic in 2020, realized there was no place for children to share their own experiences, their art and showcase their unique experiences, good and bad, to the world. The young South African child has been in isolation since the start of the lockdowns in 2020 and has had no contact with other children for more than a year.

"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."

A Global Home for Children's Voices | 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 from 0 - 13 to share their own art and poems for a new book that will be published this year. The book, "Inside: The Voices of the Lockdown Generation" [ISBN 978-0-620-93015-4] will be a time capsule of the pandemic, showcasing the voices of 100 children around the world. "I am incredibly excited about this project," shares Candice. "The lives of children around the world have changed in profound ways due to the pandemic and as a mother, I feel it is incredibly important for the voices of the children to be elevated and for them to be given a platform to share their highs and lows of 2020 and beyond."

"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 CBOs in South Africa and around the world. "Let's face it, the effects of this pandemic and the resulting lockdowns will not be distributed equally," begins Candice. "Reports and all NGOs agree that the impact is most damaging for children in the poorest countries, in the poorest neighborhoods, 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"


Recently, UNICEF Data Hub pointed out in a report on COVID-19 and children, that, "This is a universal crisis and, for some children, the impact will be lifelong." In the report, UNICEF outlines that while children may not the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are on a fast trajectory of becoming being its biggest victims. All children, of all ages, and in all countries, are being affected, in particular by the socio-economic impacts and, in some cases, by mitigation measures that may inadvertently do more harm than good.

"We are very aware of the fact that a large percentage of the world's children don't have access to internet and this is why we will be working with NGOs, schools and local community groups to reach out to children in their communities and encourage them to share their unique lockdown experiences. We want the world's children to know that their stories matter; their voices are heard. Their experiences will be acknowledged. Their art, poems and short stories will all be given a platform where they will live for generations to come. The site and the book will become a tome where people can refer back and take a snapshot of a time that will live in our hearts and minds for many years to come," concludes Candice.
Company: Inside We Stayed
Contact Name: Candice Turner
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