The Ugandan government took action very early on to lockdown and to close schools to prevent the virus from spreading. Schools and universities were closed on March 23rd before any cases were reported. There were five weeks of the first term of the year remaining.
Although there was a plan to re-open schools on May 5th and work through what would have been a three week holiday in May to compensate for the lost time, this has not happened. So far, there are not many Covid-19 cases in Uganda but the lockdown remains in force.
When the children and young people supported by All Our Children were sent home from school, we were immediately worried about the ability of their very poor families to provide them with adequate food. As an interim response, we sent money to Tushabomwe Patrick, our partner in Kabale, to purchase basic food items (maize flour to make posho, rice and beans) to supplement what each family grows for themselves.
With the extension of the lockdown and continuing closure of workplaces, hunger has become the real problem for our families, rather than Covid-19. This week we have therefore sent a second amount of money for Patrick to buy and distribute food for the family of each sponsored child/young person.
If schools and universities remain closed for much longer, it will not be possible for the lost time to be made up by cutting holidays. In that case, the fees bill should be reduced for the rest of the academic year, thus covering the money we are sending for food.
Naturally, we are concerned that our sponsored children are missing out on their lessons and lacking the routine, regular meals, and structured homework sessions that boarding schools provide, particularly when we saw so much good progress during our visit in February/March.
We are fortunate that we have a good partner in Kabale who will alert us to any serious problems.
We will update this information as the situation changes, but if you wish to help support our work, please consider donating whatever you can.
Liz Walton, OBE
Chair of Trustees