At its meeting in late August, the board of directors of CanHave received an update from Uganda outlining how the leadership of CanHave there is seeking to support students during the challenges of the current pandemic, which has resulted in the closure of the schools there. Here is a transcription of the report, followed by three photos.
The board of directors has responded by sending some financial support (approximately ten thousand dollars Canadian) to assist in supporting CanHave-sponsored children during the present challenges as they seek to pursue learning in this time of social and physical distance.
CANHAVE CHILDREN’S PROGRAMME PROGRESS REPORT JULY 2020
We started the year 2020 with 85 children in school. Out of these, 32 were in Primary level; 42 secondary – O level; 7 Secondary – A level; and 4 in vocational school. Of those at primary level, 11 children in P7 were preparing to sit for their final exams; in Secondary level, 7 were in S4 preparing for final exams, and 4 were preparing for their final exams at the S6 level.
With the outbreak of COVID 19, the schools were among the first causalities. Before the total lockdown, the government closed all schools. The schools remain closed and there is no plan to reopen before 2021. When the closures happened, we managed to safely transport all children from school back to their guardians.
In order to keep students in touch with the learning environment, the government allowed TV lessons as well as Teaching on Radio. Furthermore, the government promised to distribute learning materials to all learners. All these good initiatives were announced by the government, but time has proved that they are not universal for all learners. We have come to appreciate that the TV learning is for some selected families, as few homes have a TV set or access to the Internet. Also the promised learning materials have not been distributed to all learners at any level that we know of to date.
CANHAVE sponsored children don’t come from families that are privileged and their guardians struggle to provide them with food and medical care. Most of CANHAVE sponsored children do not have access to the education programs on television and also they cannot afford private tailored lessons at home for the children.
The Covid pandemic and the restrictions imposed create a number of challenges to the learners, the guardians and as well as the Children’s Program in Uganda.
• Uneasy access to the learning material by learners whereby the materials distributed by government. Also the learning materials in the Daily Newspapers is expensive for the guardians, hence leaving out the learners on the daily learning available to other students who can afford them.
• E-learning/distance learning was introduced by government and some private schools embraced e-learning. This would have been so good for our students especially those in candidate classes, but most of our children cannot access this service because most do not have Phones, Tablets, laptops and more so internet. This is expensive to maintain for un-identified period of time.
• Monitoring by the coordinator and the focal persons has proved to be expensive as the children are all in their homes which are scattered geographically. Monitoring was easier during the school terms will student consolidated in a few schools, and having access to accommodation and regular meals The Coordinator and focal persons require more resources to pay for transportation and even airtime for cell phones.
• Due to the long “holiday” and the increase in prices of basic commodities especially in urban areas, the guardians to most of our children find it difficult to cater for their families. This has forced many to take the children under their care to extended families in villages further away from urban areas.
• Most of the children have joined their guardians in their shops or trades to help the guardians with the additional burden.
Despite the challenges encountered we still hope for the best for our children, in that same sprit we have thought of measures that can encounter the situation these include:
• We have made arrangements with some teachers to provide us with packages (booklets) for learners from P2 to P7, S1 to S4, and S5 to S6 for our students in order to keep them focused and updated. This involves providing some resources for the preparation of packages and for the distribution cost to the respective homes of the children.
• There are revision packages in Newspapers. We plan to buy those newspapers and get the educational section pulled out and distributed to our learners. This requires resources to buy the Newspapers after a day of their shelf life, and to distribute them to individual students.
In conclusion we pray that the good Lord keeps everyone safe and for the lasting solution to COVID 19 to be devised for life to go back to normal.
Here are some of the photos of the children we met during this period of the lockdown when the schools are out of action.