By Isaac Akugizibwe
Rafiki Social Vision and Children’s Rights Initiative’s donated relief items amounting to 40 tons of posho, beans, sugar, salt, cooking oil, and other necessities like soap to the vulnerable families in the area. Rafiki Social Vision and Children’s Rights Initiative. The team’s visit to this vulnerable low life community on the frenzy Tuesday morning of May 17th, 2020 was greeted with disbelief.
When they reached kanyogoga, Members of Rafiki Social Vision and Children’s Initiative was welcomed by needy faces stiffened with hunger and hopelessness. One of the people who welcomed them was Nicholas Omara, a father of five. The dwindling young man of about 30 years greeted them with a stressful blink from a distance. When they reached the verandah of his sorry-looking single room, his big dark eyes peered out through the dirty door curtain as he exclaimed in happy recognition.
“Oh it’s you Bernard; he called after coming out of the room, “Thank you for bringing us visitors.” His five children each dressed only in dusty panties came out and lined beside him. Bernard is a counselor in the kanyogoga community and his popularity could be seen with the many people who welcomed and greeted him warmly.
“Those people used to eat sugar canes for lunch, breakfast, and supper before the government gave us posho,” a woman from the next door after Omara’s whispered softly to Bernard as he strived to keep social distance. The woman referred to Omara’s family.
“How are you surviving in this lockdown Omara?” Bernard asked. With a crumpled look, Omara went speechless for two minutes and then said that life was hard to describe.
“My biggest problem has been these children, feeding them and treating them,” Omara narrated. We ate sugar canes for a week but recently the government gave us posho which has at least restored our hope,” He added.
As if that wasn’t enough, Omara has no particular source of income to buy salt, sugar, and medicine for his family. He says that he used to work in the taxi pack where he would load and offload luggage for money before the government suspended public transport due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Although Omara’s children look the same physically, their age is different, the oldest is nine years while the last born is one and a half. Three of them study from kanyogoga nursery and primary school benefiting from the sponsorship.
Like many other vulnerable families in Namuwongo and Kanyogoga, Omara’s family received 10 kilograms of posho,5kilograms of beans, sugar, salt and soap from a partnership of Rafiki Social Vision and Children’s Rights Initiative. This left a smile on their faces but there remains worry about the future especially when the items they received are fully consumed.
However, there are many people suffering in Namuwongo and kanyogoga, some with stories worse than Omara’s. Ignorance, Poor family planning and poverty have left residents of this area sick of misery. They didn’t need COVID-19 and the lockdown because even before it broke out, their lives were already hanging by a thread.
“Many of the people here produce so many children and live in bad houses,” Said councilor Bernard as he walked the team through the area. “Leaders are worried about what may happen if the implications of COVID-19 are to stay for long,” He added.
As the government of Uganda plans to reopen schools in June, many parents are worried about school dues and logistics for their children, especially those in candidate classes. They have no idea on how and where to get the money during the COVID-19 pandemic Crisis.
Apart from ignorance, poor family planning and hunger, Rafiki Social Vision had earlier noted that cases of domestic violence were on the rise hence the need for urgent intervention. According to social worker Baynes Ceekay Ncube, most people in the area need serious sensitization on family planning.
A lot is needed to sustain hope in Namuwongo Community much as close to 100 youths already take courses in soft skills like making crafts and producing liquid soap among others. The beneficiaries in these initiatives are instructed and supervised by trained facilitators from Rafiki Social Vision & Children’s Rights Initiative at no cost.
Individuals and organizations willing to offer a helping hand in the restoration of hope for the vulnerable groups of society have a chance to join Rafiki Social Vision and Children Rights Initiative to restore hope in vulnerable Communities like kanyogoga and Namuwongo.