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Week 5 in Quarantine

Dear friends

The lockdowns in Africa continue. Their price is exorbitant, and the side effects – a dangerous under-reporting of poverty, malnutrition and social tensions – are escalating. What does it mean when 160 protégés in the Kids of Africa Children’s Village grow and mature in an almost exemplary manner in the face of this unexpected challenge? A reflection. Plus: pictures of the fifth week in isolation.

What isolation does to us

Meanwhile our protégés experience the fifth week in isolation. But they are not alone. On the contrary. The situation, which has already lasted for five weeks, mobilizes both a “we” and a “we can do this” feeling among the children and young people. They all suddenly had to take on more responsibility. The bigger ones look to the younger ones, the strong ones to the weak ones.

What was not understood at the beginning is now clear to everyone. Every child experiences what it means to feed a large family every day; why it is important to set a good example of solidarity and family spirit. And even more: it is not just one family, but about 170 inhabitants of our village, who have been living for weeks behind a fence on what our land provides. There is daily maintenance work to be done, for example for our water and sewage infrastructure and much more. They all grow from this task.

Fortunately, they have so far been spared from Covid infections as well as from camp fever. And it is a great fortune that our life experienced directors maintain a structured daily routine for the whole village. This way the emotional balance can be maintained. So that our protégés will one day, looking back on this chapter of their lives, see more good than bad in it.

What Kids of Africa means for the world in Uganda

Actually, our protégés are doing well. Very well indeed, if you compare their lives with those of street children in the slums of Kampala. This observation always raises a critical question. Is “very good” perhaps “too good”? Are we doing too little to address the plight with which we are all too familiar in Uganda’s crowded slums? Could we have taken in more protégés before the isolation came? We might have. But we also need to know our role in Uganda’s society. Kids of Africa is not an emergency aid organisation like the Red Cross. Our role is that of a family. Or, to put it another way, we maintain a village for foster families, where vulnerable, deprived children find a long-term, permanent home. Here, everything is geared towards the long term, sustainability and patient, lasting development-work. This orientation limits our reach in crises, but it doubles our influence in the long run. In other words, we are not changing the world. But for our protégés we mean the world. This is our contribution so that, one good day, they can improve the world of their generation.

To this end, we operate four very practical schools in addition to the Children’s Village. We provide education for young and old. We create jobs, which in turn support other families and social development. For this long-term task, our idyllic, almost 20-year-old village is not a luxury, but a gift for health, balanced nutrition and a sense of peace. In a word: even if support for Kids of Africa neither changes the world nor can it provide crisis relief – for our kids it means the whole world. That’s why a donation to Kids of Africa or the Red Cross should hopefully not be a question of either/or, but rather an “both/and”. Maybe one day one of our protégés will change the world? We, in any case, believe in every single one of our kids! No one left behind.

The Champions League lives!

Success begets success. Our kids’ Champions League is a bestseller. See the latest billboards and the growing number of teams. By the way, all teams are mixed by boys and girls. Abbas, our eldest, acts as a strict and fair referee.

A pig!

Daniel, our longtime accountant, who lives with his family in the countryside during the lockdown, donates a pig to the protégés of Kids of Africa this week. It was the second exception where someone from the outside enters the village during five weeks. We thank him for this!

Best wishes
Your Burkhard Varnholt

2020-04-24T14:29:36+02:0024. April 2020|
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