During the COVID-19 pandemic we adapted our work to support the most vulnerable families with food to ensure that they did not starve.
We have given out over 45,000 meals to over 560 homeless and vulnerable children directly benefiting in Kampala slums with vital food since March 2020.
These numbers are barely conceivable, and we’re so proud of what we’ve achieved with partnerships and support from churches and Great individuals like you.
But it’s not over.
Life under lockdown is hard. Life under lockdown whilst living in a slum in one of the poorest countries in the world: almost impossible. Many slum dwellers rely on informal labour, and often live hand to mouth. Uganda has been under lockdown since March, forcing many members of our community to stay home. Staying home whilst living in a slum is unimaginable. You have one room for your entire family, and with schools also closed, life has been claustrophobic, stressful and dangerous. Food prices are rising and poverty is increasing, and local leaders asked us to run food banks in communities to avoid families dying of starvation. And for the homeless street children with no roof over their heads, it’s a different story to tell.
Children have lost vital time in education, and women and children are at greater risk of violence and abuse. Many families are still finding it hard to find work, and still need to continue benefiting from our Relief food program.
To respond to these complex needs, we have developed a 4 step plan that will map our Road to Recovery for children and their communities.
Our Recovery Journey
Phase 1: Feeding
Proving immediate food support for families and children.
We have already delivered 40,000 meals to vulnerable children and families since March 2020. The lockdown caused thousands of informal workers to lose their incomes overnight, and it’s estimated that a further 3.5 million Ugandans have fallen into poverty. To help with the immediate needs of families, we are running food relief program in slums to provide food, but also hand washing supplies to limit the spread of COVID-19 in these communities. The food relief program has saved over 560 vulnerable and street children from starvation, reduced pressure for families and helped to build a sustained sense of community. Our food relief program and food delivery services are ongoing, but as the immediate crisis subsides, we will scale down our food provision and focus on phases 2-4. $30 will provide a family in need with a food parcel for a week.
Phase 2: Protecting
This phase involves the strengthening of our programs that protect children and provide immediate safeguarding in the community. We are aware of an increase in cases of child abuse, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, poor mental health, family breakdown, homelessness and exploitation of children in the slums where we work.
We have already increased the capacity at our Haven Children Centre for at risk and abandoned children which rescues children from situations of abandonment, abuse, exploitation and neglect. This project provides a safe place for children to stay whilst receiving medical care, counselling and support whilst social workers search for safe alternative family members or loving foster families. We will also increase our safeguarding presence in communities, by training additional community volunteers, and increasing our counselling services to children and young people.
Children in the slums are the most vulnerable of all and we are determined to strengthen the safety nets we already have in place to support them during and post the pandemic. By clicking Protect a child during this covid 19 Lockdown.
Phase 3: Educating
Increasing access to education. Ensuring they are not left behind and giving them a hope for a brighter future. School is not free in Uganda. For slum dwellers, it may be one cost too many. 39% of children in Uganda are engaged in child labor rather than in education. Covid-19 has forced more children to drop out of school and enter work in order to help their families survive. Education is vital to breaking the cycle of poverty and therefore it is essential that children return to education. Our Sponsorship program provides an opportunity for out of school children in the slum whilst also providing them with a nutritious meal. During lockdown the project has been providing home school packages to children but with more children dropping out of formal school and families sinking further into poverty more children are in need of support to get back to learning. Many children who have now dropped out of formal school now have no way to continue learning whilst their families find their feet again and regain a source of income. We need to strengthen our Sponsorship program and expand its reach to ensure that these communities recover from the effects of the pandemic long term.
To keep a child in school click Keep Child in School
$315 will enable a child to go to school for a year.
Phase 4: Skilling
Rebuilding livelihoods by providing Tailoring training to young mothers and out of school girls. People living in the slums of Kampala rely overwhelmingly on informal and unskilled labor and their small incomes vanished overnight with the onset of the pandemic. 85% of the population were employed by the informal economy with 90% of these were aged 10-30. Phase 4 of our Covid-19 Response provides Vocational training in tailoring, giving Teenage girls and young mothers a skill for life that will have a long-term impact on their incomes. Our skills training also teaches people business skills to help them get started. We need to strengthen this program, provide more capacity on our skills training program, empowering our trainers and more funding to help business start-ups for trained teenage girls and young mothers.
Rebuilding the livelihoods of families in the slums through skills training is essential to the long-term recovery of these communities from the Covid-19 pandemic.