In the slum area of Namuwongo, Kampala, following the strict lockdown, opportunities of employment in the area disappeared. In addition, all the children on Hope for Children’s Walk to School programme were sent home meaning that parents had to look for food for not just their children but their entire family.
All the families in Namuwongo live hand to mouth, there are no stocked cupboards or freezers to utilize. With the lock down, the struggle to survive intensified and most people started going without food for days at a time. Most families are resorting to selling personal belongings to survive, there is no such thing as social distancing in a place where on a normal day they would not afford to give each other any distance.
Our community facilitator Violet has been collecting data and information on what is happening on the ground. She has met with all the households; of the 350 we work with 159 are in a critical situation with some families missing food for a day or two in a row. The remaining 191 are only able to have one meal a day.
Sadly, we have had two deaths reported to us; one was of an unborn baby, the mother was forced to give birth on her way to the government hospital, but due to no transport being available, she had to walk with her husband whilst in labour, but by the time they got to the hospital the child had died. The second was a 4-year-old boy who became ill but due to the fear of going to hospital his mother delayed contacting us and sadly he died before Violet could get to him for help.
We initially reached 35 families, then using project funding that has generously been redirected by one of our foundations we supported more families. 6 of these families have a person living with a chronic illness, 8 families have children living with HIV/AIDS and 21 families are child-headed households. We have now secured more funding to supply food; which our Country director Immy and the team are now distributing as we speak to around 350 households.
Even with this support given, parents continue to meet or call Immy and Violet “to share the difficulty of living with hunger with their children”. We are working hard to generate emergency funds to supply this much needed food aid along with basic hygiene products like soap and sanitary wear.