We wanted to make sure you had the latest information on what is going on in Uganda.
While the US and other nations have been experiencing the uncertainty of COVID-19 for weeks or months, our friends in Uganda are just starting to see the Coronavirus spread through their nation. The Ugandan Government has responded forcefully by limiting social gatherings to no more than five people, enforcing a lock-down in Kampala, and temporarily closing all schools, churches, and large institutions. We are thankful that the students in our sponsorship program will be protected from mass-exposure and will hopefully be able to avoid illness by staying home with their families or guardians.
While people in the US have access to global media and can stay informed about the latest developments, many rural villagers in Uganda do not even know what coronavirus is, how it spreads, how to protect themselves, or how to prevent the spread. This obviously can cause immense fear about the current circumstances in their country.
As knowledge is key to prevention, Hearts & Hope developed and implemented a plan to assist our communities during this crisis. Late last week, our staff worked with local leaders to distribute information pamphlets to our partner communities. Through this effort, these communities gained a basic understanding of coronavirus, the need to practice social distancing, and how to maintain proper hygiene per CDC guidelines. During the informational visits, each sponsored student received soap for their family and was trained on proper hand-washing.
We were very fortunate to be able to take swift action and distribute these supplies, but we anticipate that there will be more needed over the coming weeks - from additional hygienic supplies to basic foodstuff in many cases. Many of you have asked us how you can help and we thank you for thinking about the people in Uganda during this difficult time. Hearts & Hope will be collecting donations for our medical fund to continue to support these communities through this pandemic. Funds will be used to distribute additional kits to the community leaders, which includes basic infection prevention materials such as gloves, masks, disinfectants, and soap. This will enable the local leaders to reassure the families in their community as they provide support over the coming days and weeks.
Lastly and most importantly, we are maintaining our grants to support the teachers in each of the community schools, providing them with a consistent income even though the schools are not open per government orders. As prices for food, hygienic items, and basic goods soar, we want to ensure stability for all teaching and support staff during this already difficult time. This not only contributes to greater economic health for the communities, but also ensures that teachers are able to stay in their homes and return to their duties as soon as school resumes. Our support for the teachers and these communities will continue for the entirety of the coronavirus pandemic.
We thank you for your ongoing support during this time. We ask for you to join us in praying for the Ugandan communities we serve. We will continue to keep you updated on the situation as it evolves and as we learn more information.
Kelly, Sara, Diane, Toni, Andy & Todd
The Hearts & Hope Team
Hearts & Hope is a nonprofit organization focused on unlocking the potential of people in Uganda through relationships with people in the US.