There have been so many highs and lows over the last three months it’s a bit hard to know where to start with this update. As I write this post from Hinesburg, Vermont, there are 2,637,909 people who have been infected with the Coronavirus in the United States and 128,451 people have died. Worldwide, there are over 10 million people who have been infected, and 505,202 who have died. I give the exact number, because each of those people had a life that had value, loved ones who mourn their passing. You have only to look at the World Health Organization map of infection spread to see how we are all connected in this pandemic.
Our efforts for the past eight weeks have been nonstop as we work in the U.S. to raise money, and for the team in Uganda who has been preparing and delivering food packages, masks, soap, and sanitary supplies. We have all been heartened by the generosity of those who have donated and seeing the caring of others has been one of the true highs that keep us going.
The impact of the travel ban in developing countries is now having dire consequences. Food shortages are resulting in deaths due to starvation. Areas in rural Uganda where we work have reached this stage. Yesterday we learned of the death of Mbago Isa, in the village of Nabwigulu. Isa was a boda driver, father of 5, who died of starvation. Isa had not been able to work since the travel ban. Unfortunately, there are many now without work who are suffering from starvation. Schools in Uganda will be closed for the rest of the year. All teachers have been told to find “other means of supporting themselves.” There are so many devastating consequences without school, just one of which is that it puts our girls who were so close to graduating, at risk of never returning.
For those of us in the U.S. it can be hard to imagine so many negative effects of the pandemic beyond what we have seen in our own communities. In the U.S. we have social programs in place that are able to help with basic needs. We have friends, family, and neighbors who have resources to help us out. We have people, organizations, and companies that have extreme wealth who are providing money for food and basic necessities. The large international aid agencies such as the World Food Programme, and Feed the Children, serve only the two large cities, Kampala, and Gulu, in Uganda. The smaller cities, towns, and especially the rural villages are not receiving any aid other than what the smaller NGOs can provide. These smaller organizations, such as ours, are well positioned to get food and supplies very quickly to those in need, in a way that does invite disease spread. However, getting funds to make this happen is very difficult.
We are currently focusing our efforts in three areas.
- Food relief packages for those who are most vulnerable and in need.
- Training and supplies for sustainable growth of fast-growing crops to increase food security.
- Addressing “period poverty” and providing reusable sanitary pads to the girls in the communities.
While we are providing funds through the generous donations of people in the U.S., it is Ugandans helping Ugandans through our partnerships with KAPIDA, 52 Kids Foundation, and Golden Care. They are working so hard to support their communities.
There are 3 important ways you can help:
2) Reach out to your network of family and friends and get them to donate. We know that people are hurting right now and not everyone is in a position to give. However, you may know others that can give. It is this connection of our networks that will make the difference in raising the money needed to save lives. We need you as an ambassador to go out and get others to donate. We don’t need to raise millions, but we do need to raise thousands. Here are some brief talking points you can use to get your family and friends to donate.
3) Host a Virtual Fundraising Event! If you are interested in doing this contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, we appreciate your support of the foundation on social media. Please continue to Follow, Like and Share our content on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter when you can – it helps so much!