Since the Ugandan government announced an enforced lockdown due to the threat of coronavirus, Children on the Edge Africa have been delivering vital supplies to some of the most vulnerable households in the slum communities surrounding Jinja.
Due to the prevalence of AIDS and its devastating effects in the area, there are a high number of grandparent headed families, mostly run by elderly women, providing for an average of five children whose parents have died or gone missing.
Orphaned children living with elderly relatives are significantly less likely to receive an education and UNICEF estimates that families supported by grandparents experience poverty rates up to 29% per cent above average.
In households robbed of the wage earning generation, poverty is already rampant, so the consequences of the recent lockdown in Uganda could be catastrophic for these families. With the older generation being most vulnerable to the pandemic, there is a risk of hundreds of children who are currently looked after by a grandparent being left alone.
Over the last week, Babra, Isaac and Jackson from Children on the Edge Africa visited all five slum communities we support surrounding Jinja, delivering parcels of maize flour and beans to grandparent headed households who have struggled to provide for the children they care for during the lockdown. Babra says, “I just wish you could see the smiles on their faces when we give them the package”.
From the start of April we have reached an agreement with the local government that we can facilitate a fortnightly distribution to 50 of the most vulnerable families. Two bars of soaps will be added to the bags of maize and beans and we will be monitoring the situation closely, with a possible scale up in a few weeks time.
Winnie Biira, CEO of Children on the edge Africa said “I commend the entire Children on the Edge Africa team for all the efforts they have put into this exercise, and the UK team for supporting us and enabling us to reach out. Together we shall fight this virus”.