While COVID-19 has been a challenge for many around the world, it has quickly become a crisis in Uganda. The entire country has been on a restrictive lockdown since March 30th, which prohibited private/public transport, closed all schools, eliminated gatherings of any kind, and imposed a strict curfew. Thanks to your support, the quick action of our local staff, and our partnership with the LCU leaders, we funded & delivered hygiene products and a COVID-19 education program to each community right before the lockdown began.
On April 14th, the president extended this lockdown for another 3 weeks and many Ugandans now find themselves in a desperate state.
We have previously shared concerns from our staff about the communities we partner with and how many families lack access to food. Many of the student’s parents are peasant farmers and work in other people’s gardens for a small daily wage. Unfortunately, the owners of these gardens are not hiring day laborers due to the lockdown. With our students already being the most vulnerable in their communities, this elimination of their daily income has been devastating. Furthermore, with school closures, the daily meal that many of our sponsored students counted on is no longer accessible.
The extension of the lockdown means the situation for these families and their children will only worsen with each passing day as their already depleted reserve of food disappears. Many of the students are already in a malnourished state which means getting them and their families access to food has urgently become our top priority. With the extended lockdown, special authorization from the government is required for trucks to travel on the roads. Fortunately, the LCU has been given this authorization in order to provide aid to their communities.
Our staff has been working over the last few days to identify the neediest families in each community. We have identified several students and families that are in desperate need of support. Here are just two examples from our Primary Sponsorship Coordinators, Maj & Joel:
Hearts & Hope has always been an organization that supports in multiple ways in these communities, with a focus on providing education as a foundation for future success in life and an escape from poverty. However, the poverty that our students find themselves in, when combined with the harsh reality of government-enforced lockdown forces us to shift our focus in this crisis – we urgently have to get food to these kids.
This is where we need YOUR help.
You have all been so generous and gracious to these kids in supporting their educations and beyond. We now ask for you to consider giving to our COVID-19 fund so we can provide food to these families who are in the midst of a living nightmare, desperate for some hope. They need you now more than ever. While we recognize that everyone is struggling in many different ways, we only ask for you to consider helping or spreading the word on this urgent need.
Hearts & Hope is a nonprofit organization focused on unlocking the potential of people in Uganda through relationships with people in the US.