Jerry Dugdale | April 7, 2020
We have been hearing the word 'unprecedented' a lot over the past few weeks. The Oxford dictionary defines unprecedented as 'never done or known before'; certainly a suitable adjective for the situation most of the world finds itself in with the coronavirus outreak and consequences. As ServeDirect, we also find ourselves asking for unprecendented help.
Like many countries, Uganda took drastic action and imposed a severe lockdown to help prevent the spread of the virus. One of these steps was to close all schools and educational institutions on Friday 20th March. It is estimated that out of a population of 42 million people, over 15 million people were affected by this move alone as either students or staff. The physical movement in people was a massive problem in itself! The picture below was taken when the Headteacher announced the closure to the students.
Since then, all vehicle movements, private and public have been stopped and a strict curfew imposed every night. Paid work has dried up fast and there is no welfare state. In these situations, the poorest suffer quickest as they have no reserves. Many live literally 'hand to mouth'.
Wobulenzi Town Academy and the Connect Education Centres were obviously part of the closure programme - with many students leaving to very uncertain family situations. The teachers have left with salaries for March, but with the lack of fee income, there is no money left for further wage support. Their wages support an estimated 750 immediate family members, without counting their additional responsibilities for wider family and clan support.
Since the closure, we have been in discussions with Charles and his team to see how we can best help practically - and that is by helping financially. So now we are taking this unprecedented step in asking our supporters to initially donate £15,000 specifically towards this help. £15,000 represents 50% salary support for all staff for 3 months - this would be a real lifeline for so many. No one knows how long schools will remain closed, or when the wider lockdown will end - the longer this goes on, the harder it will be for the school to reopen smoothly as so many families will be stranded with little available cash. This money will also help retain the current strong team of teachers that has taken time to develop.
To help, please click here or on the donate button above. Please type CRISIS SUPPORT as a reference when making your doantion. Alternatively, if you would like to donate direct to the ServeDirect bank account, the details are:
Bank: HSBC Account name : Serve Direct Sort code: 40-39-05 Account number: 11412469
Thank you so much for your ongoing interest and support - it is very much appreciated in these 'unprecedented' times.
Below is an interesting summary poster of the further lockdown restrictions in place in Uganda - currently none of the dates have been extended, but they are expected imminently.