Dear friends and Sponsors:
Greetings to all of you and I hope you and your families are in good health. It has been awhile since I last shared a report about the orphanage and school.
I am glad to report to you as follows;
Currently we have 486 children. These include;-
- 8 new orphans and vulnerable children who lost both parents due to COVID-19.
- 92 sponsored orphans and vulnerable children /needy children.
- 80 non sponsored / waiting orphans and vulnerable children /needy children.
- 306 paying students.
With generous support from people like you, we continue to provide these children with an excellent education, food and shelter.
COVID-19 has greatly affected education in Uganda. The first closure of schools was in March 2020 and since the running of the schools and learning by our children has been less than ideal but we are progressing. Schools were opened again in August and learning has had to be done in shifts or in a staggered manner. Schools opened for P 7 candidate classes first, then, sub-candidate classes for grades 5 and 6 which was followed by primary grades 1-4. Currently it is taking most of the children two calendar years to complete one school year. For our children who sat for their primary final examinations in March, they will begin their first year for secondary education in September. Some of the children, especially teenager girls, have lost hope and have been tempted during lockdowns. Two of the girls got married while another is pregnant. This happened while they had been sent home for lockdown and the schools were opened in a staggered manner.
To our surprise, the President of the Republic of Uganda on Sunday June 06th again directed for immediate closure of schools for 42 days effective June, 07th 2021. This action came after our country started recording a high number of COVID-19 infections in schools. Another country lockdown has again been imposed. We are worried about how this will affect the school students in the next 42 days but we have tasked our teachers to do regular visits to the children’s homes and have provided enough home study materials to occupy them.
- FEEDING CHILDREN
We have been blessed to have a school farm that grows maize, vegetables and cassava. Without this food, we would have had a very big problem trying to feed our children. We continue to extend our sincere thanks to Bwindi Uganda Children Charities (BUCC) for buying us 7.5 acres of farm land plus 0.75 acres adjoining the school for the chickens and mushrooms while continuing to unconditionally support our farming activities. May God bless you. We have enough food for the children at the orphanage for the next 2-3 months, however, the challenge is the children we have sent home. There is a lot of poverty and serious food insecurity in their homes. Many of the children who are now staying with their parents/guardians are complaining of hunger. The lucky ones receive one meal a day. Many of them are seen loitering around the orphanage premises at breakfast and lunch time begging for food. When we investigated, we found out that there is no food in their homes and the price of food in the market has doubled which means very few can afford buying food for their families. For most of the families around Bwindi, they depended upon tourism but now that tourism is down significantly, their pockets are empty. We feel only God’s intervention will help our community out of this situation. Thanks to Glenn and Carlo for sending $300 for food relief for the three children they sponsor.
If any other sponsor or friend can help in this matter, it would be much be appreciated and communicated to the children. $100 can help provide food to a family of five or six people for one month.
- SANITATION, WATER, HYGIENE AND HEALTH CARE.
With funding from Bwindi Uganda Children Charities, we have been able to meet most of our sanitary and hygienic needs. We have constructed a deep bore hole currently supplying enough water for the school and neighboring community. Our school kitchen has been improved and up-graded. It now provides a better cooking area and now includes a hot water heater.
We have employed a motivated nurse who is providing special health care for our children. She is such a good nurse that she meets with our staff and children regularly discussing prevention measures of most of the local diseases. The area in which we are lacking is the number of toilet stances required by the ministry of health, according to the enrolment we have. We were advised to add 4 more toilet stances at our school immediately.
All our children including those at the orphanage and those sent home are in very good health. We have not registered any COVID-19 case as a school though our neighboring schools have registered some. With the help of nurse and teachers, we have been able to observe standard operating procedures accordingly. (The latest news is that two parents have been lost and 3 children have now been infected with COVID)
Finally, allow me to report that two of our good staff have filed their resignation letters. They will cease to work with us effective July 01st 2021, due to our unstable payments.
Due to COVID-19, our sources of income have been severely limited, since we are no longer allowed in lodges to entertain guests. Also, the reporting of children in a staggered manner this has affected our direct income. We have tried to convince them to stay but they say they have families to care for. It is a big loss to the institution but there is nothing we can do.
There is also serious need for some funds to purchase enough home study materials to provide to our children. Sponsors and other well-wishers may contribute any dollar for this good cause. A home work package for one student will cost us $5 per subject and we do 4 key subjects that would mean $20 covers a child for a home package for 2 months.
Our dear friends and sponsors, we thank you very much for standing with us in the journey of touching lives forever. We appreciate your precious donations.
You have helped change lives.
When the lockdown is lifted and schools opened around mid-July as anticipated, all our children will write to their sponsors.
With kind gratitude;