The leaves are slowly changing color here in the US. There is a crispness in the air that signals a time when children are typically awaiting their class list and anticipating who their teacher will be for the next school term. But as the entire world continues to battle COVID-19 and its widespread impact, the beginning of this school year looks quite different from any before.
The impact of COVID-19 on children everywhere has been significant and in Uganda the situation is quite severe. School closures around the world have forced educators to create innovative means of teaching through videoconferencing and other online venues. Even in Africa, lessons are being provided on television or over the radio. But in the small, poverty-stricken village of Mbiko – the home to Rock of Ages Community School (ROA) – where electricity is scarce and internet is even more of a rarity, distant learning is next to impossible.
The students of ROA face increased vulnerability, including malnutrition, abuse, and exploitation. In a village known for prostitution, there is a fear of increased pregnancies among the female students similarly to what happened to many young girls in the countries affected by the Ebola crisis. All of this makes the commitment of Hands4Uganda (H4U) to help maintain the safety and well-being of the students of ROA more important than ever.
At a time when food prices have increased, many children are not getting the necessary nutrients for healthy growth. Through your dedicated support H4U and ROA have partnered to ensure food packets continue to be delivered to the students and staff as frequently as possible.
Many students rely on regular medications for illnesses such as asthma. With malaria season quickly approaching, medical attention could be the difference between life and death of a child or their primary caretaker. Again, thanks to your continued giving, all students and their families continue to have access to regular healthcare through the nearby clinic.
The shutdown has seen teachers around the world leave their positions, worsening an already significant teacher shortage. The outstanding staff, both teacher and administrators, at ROA have created a name for the school and the education it offers. Thanks to the many sponsors and donors through H4U the staff has continued to be paid during this shutdown, providing valuable assistance in coordinating the distribution of food packets, medical visits to the clinic, and maintenance of the school and the crops that are planted on the school’s property. To date, ROA has been able to maintain its entire staff.
We thank you for your continued support and ask that you join us in praying that all 300+ students who reported to school in February 2020 return again when schools are allowed to reopen.