This is the day to honor children who participated in the Soweto Uprising in South Africa in 1976. It was initiated by OAU (Organization of African Union in 1991). This day raises awareness of the continuing need for child-friendly services and the improvement of the education provided to African children.
We all need to play a role in protecting Uganda’s children, they are most vulnerable now especially during this period of Covid-19 and lock-down in Uganda. There is a big need to continue encouraging people with a spirit of abundance to share something special with a child in Africa because of the many challenges they are facing.
Challenges faced by communities due to Covid-19 and Lock down.
During this Covid-19 Pandemic Period and lock-down of 3 months in Uganda, there is a real risk of regression for children whose basic and fundamental learning was not strong especially our Batwa children in far areas of Rubuguri in Kisoro District and Mpungu in Kanungu district since they are seeing education for the very first time in their generations.
The Ministry of Education & sports in Uganda through different stakeholders, local government authorities, and non-government Organizations have intervened to distribute reading materials to children in Uganda so that children can keep learning from home. However, some children need teacher’s guidance as far as learning is concerned especially children in lower primary school classes who cannot perfectly read on their own
Most rural and indigenous communities in Uganda and Batwa in particular, do not have Television sets, Internet connectivity, electricity, no money to buy dry cells for radios, newspapers, no money for printing reading materials distributed at Local Councils and some parents are not supportive.
Because of all these challenges in reading material distribution, some of our children have missed an opportunity to study from home hence being deprived of their right to Education.
HIV Positive children have irregular supply and some have no access to ARVs from hospitals because of restrictions on public transport.
Poor nutrition in some families because Corona Virus created a lot of fear among children which tortured some psychologically. This came as a result of watching Covid-19 related news on Televisions and other media channels how Corona virus has killed people in countries like Italy, Brazil, India, United States of America, Spain and Russia etc.
most of them just get one meal a day which is not even balanced leading to malnutrition among children and other family members.
Some Children have been forced into child labour especially during this planting season by farmers in rural communities in exchange for food and some little money to buy basic needs for their families like Batwa children are now planting tea for native Bakiga farmers in Kanungu district.
Child neglect by some parents where children have been left by their parents to roam on streets and in villages begging for food from strangers which has put some children at risk of contracting COVID-19 because they are not observing social distancing measures.
Corporal punishments by parents to children because some parents are turning their day’s stress and anger onto their children even when they do a small mistake.
Gender based violence in some homes where some men are beating their wives and children because of constantly asking them for basic needs hence becoming nagging. Many children and women have succumbed to serious body injuries because of these fist fights.
Teenage pregnancies especially in rural areas of Kalungu and Luweero where we serve because children are over staying with community members including drunkards and drug abusers which has made some girls fall prey of these shameless men who rape them or sometimes use small snack foods like sodas and cakes as baits to convince these girls into sex activities.
Social distancing as one of the means of preventing the spread of Covid-19 internationally and locally has deprived children of their right to socialization with their friends to discuss education materials and playing games. This has affected them mentally because they are bored.
Some parents have lost their jobs especially those who are non-essential workers and these have no money to take their children back to school even when the lock-down is lifted neither do they have money to support their families with enough basic needs like food in this critical time of lockdown.