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Week 6 in Quarantine

Dear friends

In Africa’s young population, the collateral damage of the lockdowns – for example the increases in malaria, diarrheal diseases or tuberculosis – exceeds that of the corona epidemic itself. Many are afraid of, or have no money to pay for a visit to the doctor. This is why helping the weak to help themselves has rarely been more important. This week, I would like to describe some of our outside-activities, which I didn’t mention in my recent village-letters. They strengthen the resilience of weak children and of fragile families. I know that this does not change the world. But it means the world for them. A report about reaching-out – and some pictures from the sixth week in isolation.

Helping others help themselves

The idea is clear. But it takes time and perseverance as our Directors know very well. In various places in Uganda we strengthen children and families. We educate, we support health care and healthy lifestyles. We invest for access to clean water, fight malaria, exploitation of the weak and degradation of the environment. We invest into good jobs and sustainable agriculture. Above all, we promote stable, healthy conditions for families to lead society. And: we seek to make the way to school become the way out of poverty.

Such activities are by no means limited to our small village. “No Man is an island”, titled John Donne my favorite poem by him. “Reaching-out” has always been essential to Kids of Africa. Today, I want to mention some of these external works, which I didn’t touch in my recent village-reports. Because today they specially important.

During the current lockdown, our employees at home have done a lot of spontaneous work to strengthen the resilience of their communities. It makes a big difference that they – of course – can still receive their wages and share them with relatives. But of course it also makes a big difference that, together with Kids of Africa, they can offer help for self-help in their mostly village-like home country with many small projects.

On the small but crowded island of Nkosi (above), our three dedicated employees Waidha, Charles and Medi are currently working to help. They were already involved in our construction and operation of the island school. The school is the island’s only (!) public building with a lawn. During the current lockdown, the three men support the island community together with other islanders. Here, too, it is a matter of helping children and parents to help themselves. Simple things, like organising neighbourhood-help, creating a sense of community and responsibility for the weakest, can go a long way.

In the school we built in Alebtong (pictured above), there are no classes at the moment. But many needy children and families find advice, care, help and – if necessary – a roof over their heads. This has never been more important than now. Because in many families are really struggling. Here, too, it is a matter of supporting parents, strengthening children and of organizing community self-help.

The school we built in Kanjuki/Luwero on behalf of the Rotary Club of Malta should have opened two weeks ago. This was postponed. But it is not empty either. As in Alebtong, staff, dedicated parents, and volunteers are helping several weak, poor and young in this underprivileged community.

In the highlands of Buhweju (pictured above) we began building a vocational school with German architecture students, embedded in a forest farm that we run. Forestation prevents soil erosion, helps our climate and create sustainable work-opportunities. The German students had to leave Uganda head over heels. Meanwhile, we continue to work with the permitted number of local workers. They are dependent on the work and income – especially now. And one good day, hospitality and vocational-training will be offered here and fresh forest will give people jobs, peace and incomes.

Everyday work – everything but grey!

We know there are hidden blessings in the crisis. We come together. We discover new potential. We experience more solidarity and appreciation. Just look at how our children. A lot of good things have happened.

Farm work – because there’s always something to do!

Even our experienced director, Tage Budolfsen, performs the same work as the children.

New, colored tables!
Together some kids created a lot of new tables – the colour design was up to them!

Dance and music are always part of life in Africa!

Baking makes us happy!
Our girls love to bake. And because sugar is popular in Uganda’s tropical climate, they bake sweet pastries twice a week.

A story for you – a preview
Many of our kids like to write. This week, Aisha wrote a personal report about the village in isolation. You see the handwritten manuscript. Next week, I will send you the transcript.

Yours ever
Burkhard Varnholt

P.S.: On behalf of countless small voices to whom big things have happened:
a BIG THANK YOU! Your help doesn’t change but means the world!

2020-05-01T12:39:21+02:001. May 2020|
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