Don Bosco CALM Worried about the living condition of Street Children as COVID 19 continues to Lock Uganda
On Thursday April 16, 2020 early morning, the community of Don Bosco CALM decided to offer some food items to the most vulnerable neighboring families in other to show the closeness to those affected by the COVID 19 pandemic.
The Community selected especially the families of CALM beneficiaries.
Among those families, there was the family of some of our boys: Gabriel Tabula, Nicolas Wasswa, Joshua Magezi, Morgan Nsabimana, Peter, and others.
Among the food items offered, was rice, Maize Flour and Beans.
The situation in Uganda due to coronavirus is at standstill for now. The lockdown has been extended up to 21 days from yesterday Wednesday April 15, 2020.
This will worsen the situation of families that are starving.
Some people are locked down without any food or medical assistance, some individuals who were surviving with the small jobs paid at the daily basis, are now living a pure tragedy.
For the street children in Uganda, the situation is very tense, they can not access clean water, have no money to buy soap or sanitizers.
Recently, a survey conducted by the Government of Uganda, in the district of Kampala, Jinja, Mbale and Iganga indicated that there are over 30,000 street children.
In Kampala, it was common to find street children sitting on verandas around most of parts of the city waiting for the traffic to stop vehicles and start begging.
Others survive through searching dust or garbage bins for food while others survive by pick-pocketing unsuspecting persons.
Some others engage themselves in selling illegal drugs and stealing from houses or shops around or beyond Kampala.
Yesterday, one of our social workers, Mr Felix Rugaba on his bicycle, was sent by the Director of CALM to find out how the street children are coping with the current situation in Kampala.
When moving in the Kampala City today, one would wonder if the city has ever had any street child. No child is sitting anymore on the verandas, street or collecting foodstuffs from dustbins. However, as proceeding to some of their hideouts, he saw many sitting together, in desperate conditions, wondering how they will survive these coming days.
Talking to them is not easy, because they fear any person who is not among them.
However, Felix managed to talk to two street children who first asked him not to reveal their names.
A 15 years old boy revealed that life in the lock-down is not easy because they have not where to go and what to eat.
In addition to that, the boy is also worried about the Covid 19.
” We do not have water to drink, to wash our body, we do not have soap or sanitizers to wash our hands…the Government should send us these items to help us survive in these difficult moments.” He said
A 12 years old girl, also on condition of anonymity, wonders how she will survive in this tough situation.
She says, she left home when she was 10 years old after being mistreated by her mother.
She is from Mbarara District. She is worried about what will happen to her in the coming days.
“The Government should help us because we have no where to go”. She says. Reaching where many of those street children sleep was fruitless. Some of them turned rude, accusing him of being a spy.
Salesians of Don Bosco in Uganda are concerned by this issue, and are looking any local or foreign support to partner with and ensure that street children are safe, and get access to the services they highly need in order to survive this covid 19.
Done by Fr Elie Nyandwi, sdb
Director of CALM