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  • alistairjp6

During the long days of lock down several Mukono Link supporters were asked to join a group of young Ugandan men who had attended Lutengoo united School and formed a WhatsApp group to discuss issues affecting people in their rural area. Over the year several of them decided to stand in the local elections in their villages as Youth Leaders.

One of the young men had been top of his year at A Level but because he was an orphan he had no hope of getting to University. Simon is being sponsored by a Mukono Link member to enable him to go to University.

Simon wrote this to give some background to his life.

"I am the third child among 4, three of which are boys. I have a younger sister.

I was born in August 1998 and lost my mother in January 2000, leaving my younger sister at only a week old.

My life reflects a story of a typical African father and a hardworking mother who I actually didn't have a chance to know.

My mother had severe bleeding during childbirth and was taken to a clinic but there was no blood, yet it's the main treatment required, she was then transferred to a bigger hospital. But she couldn't make it to the next day as the doctors couldn't save her..

With "me and my siblings" got separated from each other as we were taken by different family relatives, they always loved us.

I have grown up in many homes, attended several schools. I have always survived on people's mercy. Since I was always determined and focused, I was always considered by well wishers and given a chance to progress.

Looking back on back at my life and what I have gone through gives me courage and a rethink in whatever I do. I DON'T want to see other people going through what I have gone through. I struggle a lot to be part of the decision makers (leaders)) in the society so as I can add my voice to those striving for justice, condemning domestic violence, condemning early marriage and fighting child sacrifices. These are the immediate cause of heartbreaking situations that many people go through in Africa.

We have a country to protect, preserve and see our children and the coming generations peacefully live in this country. This is now our responsibility to see our children also have a chance to enjoy the beauty and diversity of the World."

Simon now has a place to study to be a hospital technician at Kampala International University and starts next week! We wish him well.

Before going to University Simon has been volunteering to support the local community. Recently he has been helping paint a school providing a more welcome environment for the children.

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  • alistairjp6

An obvious consequence of the Covid pandemic has been the impact on children's schooling. Schools in Uganda were shut down in March 2020 and apart from a very few classes returning in November the majority of children have had no school for a year.

Plans for schools to reopen have been published as can be seen in the graphic below.

The Link is asking the Ugandan Head Teachers how we could support this return with the concern that many children may not return possibly for economic reasons with the pandemic having a devastating impact on many families and many children needing food support to be able to access school effectively.

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  • alistairjp6

The pandemic resulted in all schools in Uganda closing in April. In November the government allowed schools to start reopening for certain year groups but only once certain conditions had been met by schools. These requirements included each school too have; a temperature gun to check each child, PPE supplies to enable safe hand washing and pupil care, a trained member of staff to monitor the children and staff and to manage any cases and a designated space where any suspected cases could be isolated.

For many schools these requirements were simply unaffordable.

The Link was able to help. The Headteachers of each school within the Link were given sufficient money to enable the requirements to be put in place and some year groups were able to start returning to school from the start of November.

The numbers of children allowed back has been very limited and generally it is the children with exams due allowed back. They have to be socially distanced and one positive outcome is that this has resulted in classes of 20 to 30 pupils as opposed to the normal 100+.

It is not certain when more pupils will be allowed too return.

A common problem for many of the schools when they reopened was that the children's families could not afford to provide food for them in school. The pandemic has had a devastating impact on family incomes. The Link was able to help by providing a grant to each school to help give the pupils a daily meal.

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