• Rebekah Kading

Effect of COVID-19 on our children and guardians

Hi everyone, below is a report we received from Charles Muwe Mugerwa, the secretary of the Tedd Community Development Foundation in Entebbe, Uganda. Charles is amazingly organized and tireless in his endeavors to help people in need (thank you Charles!) As you can imagine, these communities have been extremely hard-hit by the pandemic in a number of ways, and are in need of support.


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Introduction

One Wednesday Night 18th March 2020 at 10.00 PM, the President of Uganda spoke to the Nation and advised citizens on how to avoid the spread of COVID 19 Pandemic. Among the measures he had decided to order implement were to ask the closer of public Transport, work places, shops, schools, markets, bars, airport, places of worship, ports, salons and recreational places. He finally ordered everybody to stay home under an immediate Lockdown.


Accommodation Crisis:

60% of the Guardians are renting houses between $30- 70 per month. As of now majority of them have arrears of 5 months and have no hope of getting the money pay landlords. There are two cases where the Landlords put on houses Padlocks and looked out our Guardians and the children we support. All these incidents are reported at my office but I do not have a solution for them. Efforts to meet Chiefs have not assisted us accordingly.

Job Loss by Guardians

The abrupt orders of the President to start the Lockdown affected our Guardians bitterly and have since then worsened when even some of them who were underemployed, have also been laid off. The companies have been affected with finance poor performance and cannot afford keeping and paying all workers. Near Lwanjaba Port the Flower Plant which was employing most of our Guardians laid of almost half of the staff including our people.


Health Care problems

Information reaching my office is that our guardians have nowhere to get treatment since the only General Hospital available in the District was taken over by Government, to be handling COVID 19 identified people from Entebbe Airport and elsewhere from Central Uganda. Many cases have happened where Guardians cannot afford treatment.

So far I have asked a number of Clinic owners I know to help but at times they insist that they want money. Children suffer from fever and poor feeding caused diseases. I have organized some clinic owners nearby and asked them to assist until we start our clinic from Fish farming proceeds. With those clinic owners I have developed also a Medical Centre Proposal and promised them employment when we build it up God willingly. Some have agreed and are offering lowest prices for treating our people.


Food supply and source

Efforts by Government to give people Food Relief in April 2020 never reached Entebbe area and so Guardians did not get any assistance of any nature. So they have not received any food assistance at all.

Research done indicate as these Guardians and children were seriously harassed by the COVID 19 Pandemic; most of them are helplessly living without even anything to feed on daily. As a result majority of them together with our children have become beggars for daily survival essential life needs like food, soap, sugar, salt and lighting aids for houses since they could not afford advance payment of electricity power supply. Many Guardians have come to my office for assistance!

Education Lessons on Radio and Television ongoing daily

The Education Ministry is broadcasting lessons for children for all levels on Radio and TV stations every day in mornings and afternoons but our children cannot listen or see on TV these lessons. A small Radio cost about $ 20 – 35, but our Guardians cannot afford even buying and maintaining a small radio using 2 – 6 batteries. So our children are left redundant in villages all stranded since some of them cannot even see TVs. Newspapers are printing lessons but our guardians cannot afford them. One of the Teacher with 12 of our children had started printing some homework and giving it free to children but she has also been forced to stop since she has no more money. She is now making pan cakes along a feeder road for her survival while her male teachers are employed as potters at building sites.

Conclusion

Those are some of the so many problems we are experiencing here and we do only expect schools to open in February 2021 if the COVID 19 is well handled here.

I would suggest that Musoke International Inc. in the USA give us the money meant for fees for second term so that we plan to use it wisely to take care of our children before losing them.


Charles - Reporting

Charles Mugerwa in his office, December 2019.

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