May 2, 2020 • Stories from Uganda
We just heard from Sempa Don in Kampala, Uganda. He is director of the St. Kizito Foundation in Kampala, overseeing students ranging from grade school age through high school. He writes the following:
The government of Uganda has beefed up measures to curb the spread of the deadly virus by putting the country on lockdown…all border crossing points/entry points are closed. All schools, universities, and other tertiary institutions are closed at least for 30 days. Public transport means buses, taxi commuters, and motorcyclists for passenger services, all are suspended from conducting business. Shopping arcades have been closed except stores that trade in food items and other consumables
This sounds so familiar, right? He could be talking about life in Northeastern Ohio at present. Though more than half a world away, the Ugandans are battling the same things we are at present. We are not so different! We are all vulnerable to sickness, disease, and isolation. This virus has taken us all by surprise. No one is left unaffected by it.
Sempa Don goes on to say, “The situation is really getting worse in a young country where almost 78% of the population is under the age of 30. Uganda has the world’s youngest population with just under eight million youth aged 15-30, the country also has one of the highest unemployment rates in the sub-Saharan Africa.”
While the coronavirus has touched and affected life in Northeast Ohio, the situation for many in Uganda is different. So many of the Ugandan people—think of the students we serve and their families—live in severe poverty. The virus has just made their situation worse, bleaker, and less hopeful. Also, let us not forget there are many people, especially children, whose home is the streets of Kampala. Where can they go to escape exposure to the virus?
Let us pray for our St. Kizito family: the children we serve and their families, those who work for the St. Kizito Foundation in Uganda, and the volunteers who work here in Northeast Ohio. And, of course, let us not forget the benefactors of the St. Kizito Foundation who make all good things possible in the lives of the children we serve.