Last month, thanks to the generous help of hundreds of our supporters, we were able to distribute food & hygiene supplies to our over 900 sponsored students. Our local Ugandan staff and LCU leaders worked diligently and handed out a month's worth of food supplies to each student. While we were hopeful the lockdown in Uganda would be lifted after that month, we were also preparing for the next step in case it was extended. While restrictions across the US have been loosening over the past couple of weeks, Uganda remains under lockdown with continued rules limiting the ability of the public to return to their normal work lives, mainly due to restrictions on transport. While private vehicles are now allowed back on the road, with only up to 3 passengers, public transport - the main use of travel by the majority of the country - is currently still banned.
This meant the students we sponsor and their families were again at risk of hunger with the supplies from last month quickly running out. Because the initial response to our COVID-19 food campaign was so great, we had the means to complete a second round of food distribution to each student. The staff and LCU had worked through the kinks of the first round and perfected the process, making the ease of the food handout even smoother. Each student received the same sack of maize (corn) flour, used to make the staple posho dish, as well as pinto beans. This round they also received salt and another large bar of soap for their hygiene needs.
As the country moves to ease their lockdown restrictions, they stand at 413 confirmed cases of COVID-19, mainly from truck drivers and their contacts, and zero deaths from the virus. The president will be addressing the country this first week of June to update on any further lifted lockdown conditions. The Government also plans on distributing free masks to all citizens in the country. Thereafter, no one will be allowed to appear in public places without wearing a mask. This will in theory help stop the spread as businesses, markets and schools open back up.
While Uganda makes baby steps to cautiously return to "normal" life, we will continue to monitor the status of the communities and students we serve. We tremendously thank everyone who has supported our COVID-19 campaign thus far and we ask for continued thoughts & prayers over this next month as Ugandans adjust to challenges in a post-lockdown life.
Photos from each village's distributions
Hearts & Hope is a nonprofit organization focused on unlocking the potential of people in Uganda through relationships with people in the US.