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22.11.2020

Uganda and our work in times of Corona

Uganda and our work in times of Corona

Even though the number of COVID-19 cases in Uganda is comparatively low (11,767 confirmed cases as of 11 November, 371 active cases, 106 deaths out of a population of about 44 million), restrictions imposed by the government on the population are massive and persistent:

All educational institutions are still closed and it is not foreseeable when classes may resume. Only the final year classes (Primary 7 for primary school. Senior 4 for secondary schools and graduating classes of vocational schools and universities) have been allowed to attend classes again since 15 October. The state final examinations are now expected to take place at the end of March or beginning of April 2021 instead of November.

Evidently "homeschooling" cannot work in Uganda, with few exceptions. The families in the regions where we work have no access to the internet, radios are few and far between, and TVs are almost non-existent. Since 31 March, there is now a curfew between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. (until September from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.). The motorbike taxis (boda-bodas), which are indispensable in rural areas, have been banned for passenger transport for a long time. Since 1 October,  borders and the airport have reopened with restrictions.

But the work of KINDERN EINE CHANCE continues. We have a fantastic team on the ground that we can rely on 100% and which shows incredible commitment. More detail below.

PATENPOST and GIFTS

Before we start, a request to all of you sponsors:  Please do not send any more sponsorship letters this year. we do not know when it will be possible for us to travel to Uganda again. On our first trip we will take with us all the gifts we have already received. For all those who would like to give a gift to their sponsored child, we offer to get shoes for the children from our association's own shoemaker. It works like this: You donate an additional amount (a pair of shoes costs about 10 ,- Euro) and send us an email with the subject: "Shoes for NAME OF CHILD". Our social workers will order the shoes from the cobbler's shop and then take them to the children with a greeting from you.

OUR WORK DURING THE PANDEMIC

Our sponsored children and schools

In Uganda all schools were closed by the government and there is no prospect of their opening before 2021 (with the exception of the final classes). This also meant that daily hot meals were no longer served in the schools, which had a massive impact, especially on the children in our care. Due to the crisis many families also lost the possibility of informal employment and their already low income. Hunger was the consequence. For several weeks it was forbidden to leave home. We immediately tried to get an exemption from the government to be able to distribute food and soap to our sponsored children and their families as quickly as possible. This food aid is still ongoing. Our social workers, but also the staff who normally work in the Porridge Programme, are doing a great job here. Thousands of kilometres are travelled week after week on heavily loaded motorbikes to reach families in need.

After eight weeks, there was a relaxation of the curfew and we changed our teaching system to small group classes in the villages. At different times, small groups of students meet with their teacher in different public places. There, the children get short learning sessions, can ask questions, hand in the homework they have done and receive new worksheets or assignments to write in their workbooks. The homework is then checked by the teachers and  returned corrected at the next meeting.

Disability work

In the meantime, all four disabled facilities have been allowed to resume operations under strict conditions. This ensures that once again, at least the majority of children with disabilities are well cared for. For children in need of therapy, too long a break would mean enormous setbacks.  Our therapists and social workers are allowed to make home visits again. This means that we can visit the children who have stayed with their families regularly at home, provide them with therapy and take them often urgently needed food for recovery.

HIV programme

Normally, all HIV-positive people have to go to hospital once a month for a check-up. There they also receive their medication, which they have to take daily.  KINDERN EINE CHANCE was granted an exemption very early on in order to be able to transport medical emergencies to hospital. In order to ensure that those affected receive their medication regularly, we have set up a delivery service to supply the approximately 150 HIV-positive children and mothers. Our social workers first collect the HIV-positive person's booklet, drive them to hospital and finally bring the tablets back.

Our water programme

Wash hands, wash hands and wash hands again. Hygiene advice is the same there as here. But in Uganda, children often have to walk thirty minutes or more to the nearest water point, which is just an open, dirty waterhole. This makes the work of our water teams, who fix and rehabilitate wells even during the pandemic, all the more important. In the last few weeks, an average of four deep wells per week were rehabilitated and handed over to villagers. An enormous contribution to health care. Not only in Corona times. According to the WHO, 14,000 deaths are attributed to poor water supply in Uganda every year.

Workshops and construction sites

Both in the workshops and on the various construction sites, business is back in full swing. In Kamusenene, for example, a completely new school site is being built. In Butimba, a new school complex with 12 classrooms is being built, and in Nateete, an extensive workshop area is being constructed for training in various crafts.

The restrictions we are experiencing here in Europe due to the pandemic are great. But the poorest sections of the population in countries like Uganda are much worse affected. That is why we ask those of you who can to donate and continue to support and promote our work. You can do so here. We also ask you to follow us on Facebook and Instagram and to look at Youtube.

With thanks for all your support, best wishes and kind regards

Stefan Pleger and Gabi Ziller for the whole team of KINDERN EINE CHANCE